|The Ghost Of
Will Justice Be Served In A 10-Year-Old Murder
(CBS) It was the night of Dec. 10th, 1996 when
Megan Lee watched firemen struggle to gain
control of the inferno at the home of her
boyfriend David Coffin.
"His best friend came on the scene and I had to
tell him that David was dead," she remembers.
"You see flames shooting
out of the roof of your best friend's house. The
feelings are horrible," Craig Foster remembers. Like
Megan, he was also in disbelief.
As correspondent Maureen Maher reports, their grief and
fear only deepened when fire officials revealed that
David had died before the fire even started.
Adding to the horror, it was the second time that same
day someone close to Megan was the victim of violence;
the first incident involved her estranged husband, Scott
Davis told her he had been ambushed that evening, right
in front of his house. "The person was wearing a ski
mask, put a gun to his head, sprayed him in the face
with Mace and said to stay away from Megan. And, my name
is actually pronounced 'Meegan,'" she explains.
Now, hours later, Megan's soon-to-be ex-husband had even
more bad news. He had been attacked a second time, and
this time, the assailant had actually used his gun.
"The suspect turned around and shot at Scott Davis.
Scott then returned fire with five rounds from a
shotgun. And the suspect was able to hop the fence and
run off," says Patrolman Michael O'Connor, who took the
Scott Davis also said that before all the shooting, the
man set fire to the back of his house, by the patio.
Davis managed to put it out, but the timing was
terrifying—it was just hours after David's house was set
Homicide Detective Rick Chambers naturally suspected
there had to be a link between the two victims. "The
same person that killed David Coffin's gonna be the same
person that attacked Scott. And so [we] wanted to get
his story while it was still fresh in his mind,"
Chambers tells Maher.
Although she was connected to both victims, Megan could
not imagine who would commit the crimes. Who would
attack her estranged husband? And why would that same
person cut down her new boyfriend, David Coffin, in the
prime of his life?
David was a 41-year-old entrepreneur looking for
business ventures in Atlanta when a friend introduced
him to Megan.
Best friend Craig Foster began to wonder if David's
bachelor days were numbered. "David and Megan did get
serious rather quickly. She had a lot of qualities he
desired," he explains.
But there was one rather sticky issue: Megan’s divorce
from Scott Davis was not yet final.
Coffin spent Thanksgiving week with his father, and told
him about his new girlfriend. "He'd say, 'Dad, you'd
love her," David Coffin, Sr. remembers.
Coffin's father, patriarch of a wealthy and established
New England clan, was a cautious man and advised his son
to take his time.
David Coffin, Sr. says his son told him the whole story,
including Megan's impending divorce from Scott Davis,
and acknowledges he was concerned.
In fact, Davis was not quite ready for divorce and was
having a hard time letting Megan go. "He kept on talking
about this line. 'Don't cross this line,'" Megan says.
"The line was having an intimate relationship with
Asked if she was sleeping with David, Megan says, "And
so I crossed that line."
After Thanksgiving, David returned to Atlanta and spent
the next weekend at Megan's apartment.
That Sunday morning, David came home and found that
someone had broken in. Most of his prized possessions
were there, but a few were missing, including watches,
guns and his beloved Porsche.
Two days later, David's house was torched and he was
dead. In the wee hours, Megan went to the police station
to give a statement. She wasn’t alone, though. Scott
Davis was there, too.
|"He was the only
person that had actually seen an assailant, or
actually had a conversation with an assailant,"
says Det. Chambers.
But the more Davis spoke, the more suspicious
Chambers grew about what he was saying,
especially one critical detail. "He said, 'I
didn't shoot him, I didn't shoot David,'"
Chambers remembers. "I didn't know how David
Coffin had died … No one knew."
Chambers was convinced
that the man who murdered David Coffin had given himself
away. Even before investigators knew how David died,
Scott Davis was telling them it was a gunshot.
And, he said that's what Megan, his estranged wife, had
told him. "When I heard that from her, that’s what, you
know, that’s what I thought I heard," Davis said during
an audio-taped interview with Chambers.
Asked what he thought he heard Megan say, Davis told the
detective, "That I thought I heard her tell me that he
But Megan said she had no idea how David died, and the
detective in charge now seriously doubted Scott's claim
that someone had also attacked him.
"Whoever had done this had killed one person and burned
a house. Why did he let Scott live? You're gonna set a
fire and try to burn somebody's house down, you're going
to set it on their concrete patio?" Chambers asks.
Scott Davis was the prime suspect, but he was hardly a
typical murder suspect. His father, Dr. Dave Davis, is a
prominent Atlanta forensic psychiatrist, who made media
appearances profiling criminals.
He now found himself defending his own son. "Scott has
never been in trouble. He’s never done anything like
this. And I've never known him to be violent. The whole
thing just seemed outrageous to me," Davis tells Maher.
Davis was a 24-year-old graduate student when he met
19-year-old Megan Lee. He was running for county
commissioner and had just finished his MBA.
They dated for five years, but it was quite a rocky
relationship. "We broke up a lot during our
relationship. Always initiated by me. I just kept on
feeling we weren’t really connecting in the way that I
wanted to connecting the way I wanted to connect," Megan
After every break up, Davis would beg for another
chance, often in writing.
Eventually, they got married. A European magazine
featured their wedding with a photo spread, calling the
event the "Perfect American Wedding…Hollywood- Style!"
Professionally, Scott Davis' star was rising as a
technology consultant; but his personal life was soon in
"He seemed to lose interest in the relationship very,
very quickly. So, I think he liked the chase more than
he liked the prize. He didn’t seem interested in me or
our relationship at all the minutes we got married. In
any area," Megan says.
After just two years, Megan filed for divorce and left
Davis reverted to old habits, pleading with her in
multiple, often lengthy, letters—
letters that took an ominous turn when Scott got wind
that Megan was hitting it off with a man he knew.
"Multiple dates with one person leads to expectations
which do not bode well with me. This is especially true
with a person such as Dave," Megan reads from one of
Davis' letters. "If things with other men are getting
sexual for you, I will never be able to forgive that
considering we are married."
Davis was persistent to win back the affections of his
estranged wife. But persistence seemed to turn to
obsession in Dec. 1996, during that weekend David and
Megan spent together at her apartment.
"Scott called Friday night five, six times in the middle
of the night. Saturday night, he called 30 times," Megan
When David got home Sunday morning to find his house
vandalized, he called police. But he and his friend
Craig Foster thought they knew who was responsible.
"The only thing we could come up with was that Scott
Davis had come over upset the night before because he
knew that David was with Megan. And had ransacked the
house," Craig says.
Craig advised David to back off from Megan until her
divorce was final. "And he agreed. Now I don't know
whether he ever could have done that, because I think
David was falling in love with Megan at this point," he
That Tuesday night, Coffin was found dead. And within
hours, Megan’s estranged husband was talking to the
On Wednesday, Scott left
Megan one last desperate message. "I just got back from
the police station. And they [are] really getting in my
face. Said they thought I had somethin' to do with this.
And I hope you don't believe that," he said during the
But Megan says she never called him back.
Three days after David Coffin's body was found, Scott
Davis was arrested.
Chambers says he knows the case was strong. "He had
motive, he had opportunity, and he was providing us with
our case," he explains.
Attorney Bruce Morris began representing Scott Davis the
day he became a murder suspect. "When I first met Scott.
He was absolutely just unbelievably frightened that the
police were focusing on him in a murder case," he
Morris was hired by psychiatrist Dave Davis, Scott’s
Asked if he had ever met someone acting normally and
suddenly snapped, Dr. Davis says, "Yeah, but I was
talking to him through that period of time. He wasn't
But Det. Chambers says Scott came unhinged when his
soon-to-be ex-wife starting showing serious interest in
another man. "Scott Davis had everything he wanted all
his life and the one thing he lost, couldn't stand it,"
The detective believes Scott Davis killed David Coffin
and then tried to cover his tracks by inventing a
Police used phone records and witness statements to
create a timeline, showing that Davis had ample
opportunity to execute the crimes.
On Saturday night, they believe, while David was with
Megan, Davis ransacked David’s home and took a few
choice treasures, including that Porsche.
On Monday night, they say, Davis returned, this time to
confront David. "I think he went there in an intention
to scare him and a struggle ensued and Scott shot him,"
Then, on Tuesday night, Chambers says Scott Davis
returned again and set the fire.
But the timeline had a problem: David's stolen Porsche
was also set on fire; it was found Tuesday morning,
miles from where Scott Davis was seen at work.
"Scott could not have started the Porsche fire," his
attorney Bruce Morris tells Maher.
After 90 days in jail, Scott posted a
half-million-dollar bond and was released.
The pending case against Scott Davis had other setbacks:
a gun taken in the burglary was found near David's body,
but was too badly burned to have any prints on it.
And Davis’ father says there was no physical evidence
against his son – no DNA and no fibers.
A search of Scott Davis' house and car also came up
The district attorney chose not to seek an indictment
and, in June, 1998, 18 months after Scott Davis was
arrested, the charges against him were dropped.
Scott Davis' divorce from Megan Lee was now final but
Megan wasn’t taking any chances and left town.
First, she moved to Minneapolis, but she still didn't
feel safe. Eventually, she moved halfway around the
world, to Sydney, Australia, which is about as far away
from Atlanta—and from Scott Davis—as she could get.
Megan believes Scott Davis is responsible for David's
death. "I would love to believe that it was anyone else
other than the person that I'd been married to. But I
know nothing else makes sense. And I've tried," she
Scott Davis also left Atlanta, and moved to Palo Alto,
Calif., where he set up shop as a computer consultant.
But Scott Davis' newfound freedom was not sitting well
with David Coffin, Sr. "I was not a happy camper," he
He says he never suspected anyone but Scott Davis in the
killing of his son.
Coffin made relentless efforts to keep the case active,
offering substantial rewards to help solve the case.
But as the years passed, little new evidence surfaced.
Megan was now happily married to an Australian man and
had two children but she was never able to shake her
past. "There has not been a day in ten years that I've
not thought about the events of December '96, not a
day," she says.
Scott, meanwhile, was getting ambitious. In 2003,
California's governor was recalled, sparking a wild,
free-for-all election. San Jose Mercury News reporter
Josh Kwan got a tip to check out one of the 135
hopefuls: a candidate named Scott Davis.
When Kwan asked Scott Davis about his arrest for
Coffin’s murder, Davis told him the charges had been
dropped. There was no evidence against him.
"He said 'This wouldn't have happened to me if it wasn't
for my ex-wife.' He said that Megan, his ex-wife was the
one who sort of incited the police to go after him,"
With his past outed, Scott Davis gave up his run for
governor. But he was now under new scrutiny in Atlanta.
Enter prosecutor Sheila
Ross. She was heading a cold case unit and taking a
fresh look at the old evidence.
"When I looked at everything, I was literally disgusted.
I was disgusted that he had gotten away with it," Ross
The state had virtually no new evidence against Scott
Davis. But there was now a very determined prosecutor.
"The defendant is wealthy. He's wealthy and comes from a
very good family here in Atlanta. And that creates a
whole new dynamic … it's a different dynamic. Because
wealthy people have advantages that poor people do not
have and they work the legal system," Ross says.
The Fulton County district attorney convened a grand
jury, and the jury returned an indictment. In Nov. 2005,
Scott Davis was arrested again and charged with murder.
Davis was able to post a million-dollar bond and was
Ten long years after David Coffin's house was set on
fire, Scott Davis was finally standing trial for murder.
But he says he felt confident that he would be
acquitted, reiterating that he is innocent.
Prosecutor Sheila Ross knows there is no physical
evidence and defense attorney Bruce Morris wastes no
time pointing that out.
Most of that evidence burned in the house fire. And
virtually all the evidence that was collected—more than
forty items—has been lost or discarded by the state.
Only photographs remain.
"And you believe that any one of these items, had you
had access to them, could have exonerated Scott?" Maher
"Certainly could have helped us with leads, yes," he
But Ross contends she can prove that Davis had a motive
to kill. "He was a competitive man who wasn’t going to
lose his wife to the likes of David Coffin and he
targeted the competition and he hunted his competition,
he stalked his competition, and he ultimately killed
him," she says.
Ross calls Scott's former wife, Megan Lee, to the stand.
The woman Davis once so doggedly pursued, has
voluntarily flown in from Australia for the trial.
Asked how important Megan is to the prosecution's case,
Ross tells Maher, "Megan is the motive … I think the
case would have been very difficult without her."
Over the course of three grueling days, Megan testifies
about her failed marriage. She listens to Scott Davis'
messages pleading for her to come home and tells jurors
about Scott's fixation with the new man in her life.
Perhaps most important to the state’s case, Megan
contends that when she told Scott Davis about the fire
at David's house, he said something very incriminating.
"He said, 'Oh, my God. The police are here with me. And
they said they had just come from a scene in Buckhead
where a guy had been shot in the head and his house had
been burned down,'" Megan testified on the stand.
David was shot in the head? That comment Scott allegedly
made is key to the case, because, at the time the police
didn’t even know how David died. The question is: did
Scott Davis slip up and say something only the killer
Megan says she is 100 percent certain her ex-husband
Remember, Scott said it was Megan who told him about the
"If Megan knew first, how do you think Megan knew that
information?" Maher asks Morris.
"I don't know, is the answer," the defense attorney
Megan admits that
she initially told police she didn’t know how David
died. In all the horror, she says, she forgot. But she
now remembers she told friends about the shooting after
talking with Scott Davis.
She maintains she did not tell Davis that David had been
shot in the head.
Asked if he thinks Megan is lying, Morris tells Maher,
"I think Megan said it. Whether she was hysterical and
doesn't remember it, or is lying about it, I don't
But Sheila Ross says the real liar is Scott Davis. He
did himself in, she says, by spinning an elaborate tale
about being a victim. "Like he's being haunted by the
ghost of David Coffin. And he started realizing all of
the mistakes that he may have made in perpetrating the
crime. And then he impulsively tries to cover up what he
had done," she says.
Police testify they found nothing to corroborate Scott
Davis' story, no evidence that someone took a shot at
him, and no signs that he had shot an assailant, despite
his claims that he shot at someone five times in his
"Getting shot with a shotgun is fairly traumatic so it
should have left some indication if he had been hit. And
we didn’t locate anything like that," Patrolman Michael
Ross says Scott Davis kept digging himself a deeper
hole. "It's his impulsiveness that did him in because
he's always trying to outthink the police. He's trying
to outthink everybody. Outsmart everybody," she says.
She says Davis even tried to enlist a friend to provide
a false alibi. Instead, that friend turned on Scott
Davis and called the authorities.
But Christine Bradley, a paralegal on his team whom
Scott Davis has been dating, insists there was nothing
to cover-up. "I was sitting next to an innocent man,"
When the defense lays out its case, Dr. Davis takes the
stand. He tells jurors about the toll the accusations
first took on his son ten years ago.
"He was sounding panicked and terrorized. I never ever
heard him like that before," Dr. Davis testifies. "I
think its consistent with being accused of a crime he
did not commit."
Davis also provides his son an alibi for Saturday
evening, around the time the state believes David's
house was ransacked. "He came over to my house," Dr.
Davis testifies. "It was around 6:30, I remember I was
watching the news."
That takes prosecutor Kellie Hill by surprise. Dr. Davis
acknowledged on the stand that it was the first time he
had told anyone in law enforcement that his son was at
his house on Dec. 7th.
Sheila Ross says she thinks Dave Davis was lying.
But the state cannot dismiss the fact that David's
stolen Porsche was found burning around the time Scott
Davis had a meeting at work.
"Scott Davis may not have lit the actual match to the
Porsche," Ross says. Asked if she believes Davis got
somebody else's help, Ross says. "I absolutely believe
that it is possible that somebody else helped him. Yes."
After nearly six weeks in court, and more than 60
witnesses, the trial ends without Scott Davis taking the
After the case went
to the jury, hours turn into days, then the court
recesses for the weekend with no verdict.
The following Monday, after nearly four days of
deliberations, jurors reached a verdict: guilty.
It's a bittersweet victory for David’s father, David
But for Scott Davis parents, it’s a devastating blow.
"When the jury walked in the room, I could tell by the
look on their faces not one person looked at us," Dr.
Davis tells Maher. "My heart sank. I couldn’t believe
And Davis' girlfriend Christine can’t believe it either.
"I was absolutely not prepared for a guilty verdict,"
While Christine faces an uncertain future, Megan is
finally able to come to terms with her past.
"I just felt like, 'Oh my God. I'm not scared anymore.'
And I don't think I was truly sort of recognizing how
scared I was. Until they said, 'We find Scott Davis
guilty,'" she says.
The sentence is mandatory: life in prison.
But just before he is led away, Scott Davis addresses
the court for the first time. "I have nothing but
sympathy for the coffin family, however, I've maintained
my innocence throughout this and I still maintain my
innocence," he said.
After his conviction, Scott Davis asked his girlfriend
to read a letter he had written to 48 Hours: "I can't
explain in words the horrible feeling of being sentenced
to life in prison for a crime you didn't commit,"
Christine reads. "I will fight with all my strength and
courage to re-gain my deserved freedom. Until then, I
will not rest."
Christine says she will stand by Davis and is not
planning to leave him.
But she may be waiting a long time. David's father is
determined to keep Scott Davis right where he is.
"As far as I know this is the last picture that was ever
taken of David that was two weeks before he passed
away," Coffin, Sr. says, as he is showing pictures to 48
Hours. It was on that fateful weekend that his son told
him about the new woman in his life, Megan Lee.
"He said to his father about you, 'This might be the
real deal.' How do you feel about that?" Maher asks
"When he died, we never had a first fight. We never had
a disagreement," she replies. "So he died a perfect