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Residents Angry Davis Allowed to Return to Polly Klaas Home

May 3, 1996

PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) _ Richard Allen Davis, heavily guarded because of death threats, returned Thursday to the home where Polly Klaas lived when she was abducted.

Davis sat in a van as jurors in his murder trial traveled in a funeral-like procession to retrace the steps prosecutors say he took when he kidnapped Polly from a slumber party in October 1993 and strangled her.

Neighbors, some of them jeering and hostile, observed the spectacle from barriers erected around the five-block area. Many residents were angered that Davis was allowed to make the trip from San Jose, where his trial was moved because of heavy news coverage surrounding the case.

``Actually, I want to see if someone takes a shot at him,″ Connie Powell of Petaluma said.

Dozens of police officers and Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies accompanied the jurors to guard them from exposure to prejudicial comments or demonstrations. However, the security primarily was aimed at shielding Davis, who has received numerous threats against his life since his arrest.

Police Sgt. Dave Kahl said the tour ``pretty much went off without a hitch.″

Despite laws that give Davis the right to see everything the jury sees, he was ordered to remain in the van because of the threats.

Two young women used crayons to create a banner that read, ``Never Again.″ Authorities shooed them away from the edge of a park to keep them from jurors.

``I think we should be able to say we don’t want him (Davis) in Petaluma,″ said one of the women, 19-year-old Jennifer Martines. ``Never again will a child be stolen from this county. Never again will a child die for no reason.″

Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Hastings, wearing a dark sports coat and tan trousers instead of his robe, led the tour. The trip was arranged by prosecutors to allow jurors a firsthand glimpse of locations described by witnesses during the trial.

Jurors were to spend the night at a Santa Rosa hotel and were to conclude their trip Friday by journeying to Cloverdale, where Polly’s body was found.

Jurors will not see the area where Davis led police to Polly’s body and where there is a memorial park in her honor.

The trial resumes Monday.

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