HOUSTON – Viewers have many questions when it comes to who will be held responsible in the case of Maleah Davis.
KPRC2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice sat down with reporter Sally Mamdooh to discuss legal aspects about the case.
Q: Could Maleah Davis’ mother, Brittany Bowens, be held liable for withholding information from police?
Wice: "The critical issue is distinguishing between the mother’s moral responsibility as a parent to do the right thing by her child and to give law enforcement everything that she had at her disposable versus her criminal liability, which I understand is based upon the probable cause affidavit right now is not existent.
"What our viewers need to be aware of is that you can go from a cooperating critical witness to a defendant just like that and this is an ongoing investigation and right now, we are uncovering facts on an hourly basis. And the more facts that HPD is able to uncover the more the big picture of this case can change.
"Right now, she is a grieving mom who made a tragic mistake by not doing of what she could do as a mom to this young kid to help law enforcement at a time when law enforcement needed the help. As it turns out right now, her moral responsibility is radically different from her criminal liability which how I understand it right now is zero."
Q: Do you think they can charge Derion Vence with capital murder if there is no body found?
Wice: "There have been cases all across the country where there was no body but there is a Texas law that says that state can meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt even without a body.
"To me, the other interesting question is going to be whether or not this defendant helps himself by telling law enforcement and the community where this little girl is."
Q: What punishment could he possibly face?
Wice: "If he is charged with capital murder then he either could face life in prison without the possibility of parole or death.
"If his lawyer enters a plea deal where the suspect leads police to Maleah’s location, he could get life with the possibility of parole after serving 40 years."
Wice also sat down with anchor Andy Cerota earlier Monday to talk about the case.
Timeline of the Maleah Davis case