A state appeals court panel today upheld a man’s 12-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing and mutilating his live-in boyfriend at their West Hollywood apartment at 939 Palm Ave.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that L.A. Superior Court Judge Mark Windham should have sentenced Andre Davids to six years in prison for the March 29, 2014, death of Kurtland Ma.
Davids, now 39, was convicted last December of voluntary manslaughter. Jurors acquitted him of the more serious charge of second-degree murder in the 34-year-old emergency room doctor’s killing.
“Here, Davids severely mutilated and killed Ma using several knives. The crime thus involved great violence and great bodily harm and showed a high degree of callousness and indicated Davids posed a serious danger to society,” the appellate court panel wrote in its five-page ruling. “Considering Davids’ callousness and violence in committing this crime, the trial court acted within its discretion in imposing the upper term.”
Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee called it “absolutely one of the most gruesome crime scenes that I or the homicide detectives have ever seen.”
The prosecutor noted that Ma suffered about 40 stab wounds, was “disemboweled,” with some of his organs stuffed into his mouth, and pill bottles and pills shoved into his body cavity in a killing motivated by Ma’s decision to break up with Davids.
The defendant was found inside a bathroom in the apartment. Authorities said that he appeared to have taken a large amount of pills. He was arrested the next day.
Ma had a wide circle of friends in places ranging from Scottsdale and Phoenix, Ariz., where he grew up and went to high school, to New York City where he did his residency at Jacobi Medical Center-Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Ma got a job at Memorial Hospital in Gardena in early 2014, and he rented the apartment on Palm Avenue in West Hollywood. Because Ma had been traveling — taking a trip to Japan — he didn’t actually arrive in WeHo until March 24. Davids murdered him less than a week later.
During Davids’ sentencing hearing in January, the victim’s brother, Wayland Ma, told the defendant, “When anyone, including your family, looks at you, the first thing they will see is a murderer. Even if they say they’re OK with having you alone in a room with their family, no matter what they say to you, what you have done will always be on their mind. You will never escape the evil you carry inside of you, and people will know.”