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Kent Davidson is escorted to a prison transport after pleading guilty to the first-degree murder of Crystal Schulz on Wednesday at the Brule County Courthouse. Davidson was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. (Sean Ryan/The Daily Republic)

Davidson pleads guilty to murder, gets life in prison

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CHAMBERLAIN – Agnes Clement held an 8-by-10 photograph of her daughter, Crystal Schulz, as she addressed her daughter’s murderer.

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“This is my daughter Crystal,” Clement said Wednesday at the Brule County Courthouse. “You took one of the two loves of my life away from me. She’s my daughter Crystal.”

Kent Davidson, 37, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder for the death of 26-year-old Schulz, who died in March 2013. Davidson was sentenced to life in prison without a possibility of parole.

Judge Bruce Anderson sentenced Davidson Wednesday, after Davidson waived his right to a 48-hour delay in sentencing.

Davidson spoke briefly prior to sentencing.

“I just want to say I’m sorry for taking a sister, a daughter,” he said. “I’m very sorry.”

During the time of the murder, Davidson and Schulz were in a relationship, but Schulz told him she wanted to break up.

Davidson was also convicted of being a habitual offender for four previous felony convictions -- two in North Dakota for forgery and theft, and two in South Dakota for forgery and escape.

Anderson said, “because of the sentence today and its magnitude” he would not impose a fine, which could have been up to $50,000.

As Schulz’s family wept in the courtroom audience, Davidson stoically answered the judge’s questions. His face often twitched as he answered but was largely devoid of emotion.

During her victim impact statement, Clement stood before the court with about 15 friends and family to address Davidson.

“You’ll never know the pain I feel every day,” Clement said through her tears. “And you’ll never know how much pain (Schulz’s brother) Austin feels every day. This is Crystal. I love this girl and I miss her.”

Aside from the pain and anguish she conveyed, Clement thanked Davidson for sparing her and her family the difficulty of going through a trial.

Davidson looked at Clement at least one time during her statement, and wiped his eyes with a tissue. He wore an orange prison jumpsuit and had shackles on his ankles.

Clement found Schulz on March 14, 2013, shot to death in a shed at Clement’s rural Chamberlain home. Davidson admitted in court he lured Schulz to the shed because he wanted to kill her after he couldn’t commit suicide following her decision to break-up with him.

“Your mind flipped and you decided somebody would have to pay for the feelings you were having?” Judge Anderson asked Davidson.

“Yes, sir,” Davidson replied.

After being lured to the shed, Schulz leaned over to look under a car in the shed where Davidson claimed were some newborn kittens. As she stood up, Davidson shot her in the head with a shotgun twice.

“I will never forget the day I found Crystal,” her mother said Wednesday. “The memory is imprinted on my brain.”

Before sentencing, Davidson’s attorney, Clint Sargent, said Davidson was evaluated by a psychologist. The evaluation showed Davidson did not have a diminished mental capacity nor was he insane at the time of the murder.

During sentencing, Sargent said Davidson is not a sociopath or a monster. Rather, he has the ability to love and has a strong desire to be loved and please people. However, he grew up in a physically and emotionally abusive home.

“The combination of those conditions and growing up with the desire to be loved came together in a tragic collision in his mind that caused him to do this,” Sargent said. “For which he takes full responsibility.”

Judge Anderson acknowledged Davidson’s troubled childhood and said Davidson has never had an attitude in court. But Anderson said Davidson chose the wrong path early in life and was on the wrong path during his relationship with Crystal Schulz.

Davidson also waived his right to appeal the conviction. He was immediately transported to prison after the hearing.

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