By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – Joe Davis is a walking, talking miracle.
Six weeks after being shot in the back of the head with a .380 pistol, he is back at home and in good spirits.
But his wife and 16 year-old son are both locked up in the Yalobusha County Jail, accused of putting a gun to the back of his head and pulling the trigger while he slept.
“His son admitted to pulling the trigger and his mother allegedly gave him the gun,” Yalobusha Sheriff Lance Humphreys told the Herald back in June when the two were arrested.
Now Dustin Davis and Beverly Davis, 40, are each charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated as-sault.
“I am not mad at them,” Joe Davis told the Herald. But he has yet to make the trip to the jail to visit either of them since being released from the Regional Medical Center in Memphis.
And Joe does have a few questions.
“I thought everything was good, the bills were paid and the dogs were fed,” Davis said. “We had just taken family pictures.”
Something was wrong. Joe and Beverly had been together for more than 17 years, and had been married for almost 16 years. On the night of June 14, Joe lay sleeping in his bed when his son allegedly shot him and then left with his mother to go get some ice cream.
They returned to the trailer 20 or 30 minutes later and Joe was not dead.
“I tried to get up,” Joe recalls. Miraculously he can remember everything that occurred that night except the actual shooting.
“My head was hurting, I rubbed the back of my head and my hand was bloody,” Joe recalls.
“She said, ‘Joe you tried to commit suicide,’” Joe explains, referring to his wife’s comment after coming back with the ice cream.
That was the initial story, he had tried to take his own life.
“They didn’t plan it out worth a damn. Everybody knows me, I don’t do stuff like that,” Joe continues.
There were holes in the story. The gun had been thrown in the woods, down from their house, according to Humphreys.
And the bullet entered his skull at the back of his head, Joe explains.
Joe shocked first responders when they arrived at his house on County Road 107, near the Water Valley airport.
“He walked out of the house and actually got in the ambulance,” Humphreys said.
“I wasn’t going to die in my own house,” Joe said.
He remembers being transported in the ambulance, first to the Water Valley Airport, where he was to meet a waiting Air Evac helicopter.
“They could not find a key to the gate,” Joe said.
He was then rushed to town, where the helicopter was able to land.
Joe remembers the flight to Memphis. He remembers talking to a waiting Memphis detective.
“He had to check for powder residue on my hands,” Joe explains.
“He asked me what do I have to live for. I said, my grandkids.”
Joe laid in the hospital for two days before his brain began to swell and doctors were forced to perform emergency surgery.
The doctors placed a tube in his brain to drain the blood. They also removed a portion of his skull and the bullet that had remained lodged in his head.
“When I get it back, I may make a necklace from it,” Joe notes.
For a month after the surgery, Joe remained in a medical-induced coma as he slowly recovered.
Humphreys remembers that it was touch-and-go for the first days after the shooting.
“The doctors did not think he was going to make it at first,” the sheriff said.
Joe doesn’t remember much about the month he was strapped in the hospital bed. He said the drugs used to induce the coma caused him to hallucinate.
“I woke up, took five steps and threw the walker away,” Joe continues.
Now he is 34 pounds lighter, experiences vision problems, and has some trouble keeping his balance. He also wears a helmet to protect his head until the missing skull can be replaced.
“I have recovered about 90 percent,” Joe speculates. “I still have blood in one of my eyes.”
Through it all he remains upbeat.
“I haven’t been this happy in a long time. I have been reading the Bible.”
But there is a downside beside the obvious.
“I lost the other side of my family,” Joe explains, referring to his wife’s kids by an earlier marriage. Some of his own family members are also having a hard time with the ordeal, and he misses seeing his grandchildren.
As for his son, he doesn’t want him to receive too harsh a sentence.
“I would like to see him undergo psychological counseling,” Joe explains. “I think he was coached into it, I think it is more her.”
“I wish he would write me a letter and try to explain it,” Joe adds.
Through it all, he remains grateful. He is alive and has almost made a full recovery.
Remember, Joe says, a bought lesson is a learned one.
His money had been used to purchase the ice cream.