Guilty plea in murder trial

ZANESVILLE – An Ohio murder suspect accused of dumping and burning a body in Morgan County pleaded guilty Wednesday, after first beginning his trial acting as his own attorney.

One day into his aggravated murder trial in Zanesville, Shaquille Davis pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge of murder with a gun specification, as well as one count each of abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

He faces a life sentence without parole eligibility for 20 years when he is sentenced later.

The 20-year-old man opened his trial this week telling jurors that he shot his 24-year-old cousin, Phillip Kimbro Jr., in July to stop him but not kill him. He said Kimbro was intoxicated when he was dropped off at Davis’ house and quickly became aggressive.

Kimbro’s body was found by a tree trimming crew on County Road 15 in Morgan County on July 25. His body had apparently been set on fire.

He was identified through a fingerprint match.

The focus of the investigation shifted from Morgan County into Muskingum County where the murder actually took place.