Stolen cars, guns, murder involved in Davidson's spree - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Stolen cars, guns, murder involved in Davidson's crime spree

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Thomas Davidson Thomas Davidson

A judge formally charged 25-year-old Thomas Davidson with first degree murder in the shooting death of 58-year-old Sandra Burkhardt on Monday morning. 

Gibson County Sheriff George Ballard says Davidson stole cars, guns, and murdered a Posey County grandmother during a spree that spanned hundreds of miles in two states.

But what drove him to such violence still remains a mystery.

About 10:00 Friday night, Burkhardt left her job at Walmart in Princeton to take care of her grandchild in Poseyville. About an hour later, her daughter arrived home and her child was there, but Sandra was gone.

"For something like this to happen to somebody like that is just terrible, just terrible," Sheriff Ballard said.

Fast-forward to 8:00 Saturday morning, Davidson allegedly pistol-whipped a 19-year-old girl in Sandra's car in Mt. Vernon, then fires two shots that grazed the girl's nose.

Sandra was nowhere to be found.

"Once you start hearing the information that was coming out, you knew this was probably going to be a really grim situation," Sheriff Ballard said. 

From there Sheriff Ballard says Davidson committed a burglary in Spurgeon, then another burglary in Winslow.

Then around 4:30 Saturday afternoon, deputies spotted a stolen white SUV a few miles east of Pike Central High School. It was there that Ballard says Davidson surrendered with a 9mm handgun and a stolen shotgun. He also told them where to find Sandra's wrecked silver Ford Focus.

"There is no clear-cut motive. There doesn't appear to be and I think the main thing, he just wanted a ride over to Illinois and she had a car. He had a gun he'd stolen from a neighbor," Sheriff Ballard said.  

Once in custody, Davidson was treated for an injury and questioned in Princeton. That's when Ballard says Davidson told investigators where to find Sandra's body near Crossville, Illinois. 

"I'm just thrilled that we were able to get him as quickly as, in less than 24 hours," Sheriff Ballard said. "You may have somebody that's maybe done a couple thefts or maybe a couple burglaries, but to do this many crimes and the serious crimes, it's been a long time since we've had somebody do that here."

Davidson is also charged with aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated vehicle hijacking and aggravated discharge of a firearm. He's being held in the White County Jail on $2 million bond.

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