Inmate sentenced to 33 years for death of MCSO officer at Phoenix jail
Jun 2, 2023, 2:09 PM
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
PHOENIX — An inmate convicted of manslaughter after fatally attacking a Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detention employee was sentenced to 33 years in prison on Friday.
Daniel Davitt, 62, was given the maximum sentence in the October 2019 death of officer Gene Lee.
“Officer Gene Lee was a public servant who devoted his life to protecting our community,” Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said in a press release. “It is a travesty for his life to have ended in this way, and I can only imagine the depths of the sorrow his family is experiencing.
“I am grateful to the judge for imposing a lengthy sentence and am grateful to the people in my office who worked relentlessly to bring his attacker to justice.”
Davitt grabbed Lee by the throat without warning on Oct. 29 and kicked his feet out from under him at Lower Buckeye Jail, authorities said. Lee landed headfirst on the concrete and lost consciousness.
He immediately received medical attention and was taken to a hospital, but he never regained consciousness.
Lee, a six-year veteran of MCSO, died a day after the attack. He was 64.
Prior to the attack, Davitt had been in county custody for two years pending charges for sex crimes involving children.
Davitt had filed a civil rights complaint against Lee two months before the deadly incident, which led to speculation he might be charged with first-degree murder because of premeditation.
His lawsuit said he’s needed mental health treatment for PTSD symptoms caused by Lee staring at him for 10-15 seconds. MCSO found Davitt’s complaints unsubstantiated.