Something had set Lane Davis off, but that wasn’t unusual.
It was a clear summer afternoon on July 14, on Samish Islanda small, idyllic community off the northwest coast of Washington statewhere Lane, a balding, bearded, Donald Trump-supporting conspiracy theorist and prolific YouTuber and Redditor, known online as Seattle4Truth, lived with his parents.
Lane had spent that Friday morning as he did most mornings, on the internet. This day, like the others, Lane read and retweeted posts celebrating the Second Amendment, bemoaning diversity, and spreading conspiracy theories that alleged Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta was involved in a child sex ring and DNC staffer Seth Rich
had been murdered for leaking sensitive emails to WikiLeaks. It was the end of a busy week during which he contributed to the Donald Trump subreddit, and over on The Ralph Retort, a fringe blog where he worked as a political editor, (unpaid, according to the site’s owner), he had celebrated the idea of a Kid Rock Senate run, claimed America was under threat of Sharia law, and wondered whether CNN was “literally ISIS.”
Lane’s parents, Catherine and Charles DavisCharles was known as Chuck to his friendswere used to their 33-year-old son’s outbursts. They had become so frequent that Charles had started recording the tirades on his phone. But that afternoon, they were tired of Lane’s screaming, wanted him to leave, and told him as much. Instead, Lane chased his parents around their home, spitting in his father’s face while screaming that he wasn’t threatening to kill them, but “pedophiles who were taking over the country.”
Catherine Davis called 911. The tape of her call was acquired by The Daily Beast.
“He’s not physically threatening us or anything,” Catherine told the dispatcher. “He just gets out of control and he’s ranting about stuff from the internet.”
Was Lane drunk, the dispatcher asked? On drugs? Was there any history of a mental disorder?
“No, not reported, but he’s not working and he gets on these rampages and he just needs to move on,” Catherine replied.
The dispatcher suggested Catherine and Charles stay away from Lane until the police arrived.
“We’re trying to but he’s chasing us around the house,” she replied. “He’s mad about something on the internet about leftist pedophiles and he thinks we’re leftist and he’s calling us pedophiles. And I don’t know what all.”
Catherine laughed. “He just lives on the internet and he gets really worked up about everything that’s going on. He needs an intervention of some kind here.”
Police were on their way, the dispatcher told Catherine, and she hung up. But Charles’s phone kept recording.
On the 12-minute audio file later recovered by Skagit County Detective Kevin Sigman, a manic Lane, enraged by his mother’s 911 call, says, “OK well, so here’s the deal. If I am going to go to prison for threatening to kill somebody, I mean...”
“Leave the knife alone,” Charles says while his mother tries to reassure him: No one wants to send him to prison, they just want some help.
Lane doesn’t seem to hear or believe his mother. “So, you are going to send me to prison?” he asks. “My life is over.”
Minutes later, Catherine called 911 again. The audio recording is hard to hear. In it, Catherine is running and the portable phone she’s using breaks up. Catherine screams “He stabbed him!” before the connection is lost.
As the 73-year-old maritime lawyer and grandfather of two lay bleeding on the back deck, stabbed by his son in the chest and the back with a chef’s knife, Lane walked outside, dropped his weapon and stood with his hands in the air, waiting for police to arrive.
Catherine called 911 once more. “He’s dead, he’s dead, he’s dead.”