March 3, 2004 – A man who was a registered sex offender has been charged with killing Kishma Burnes of St. Thomas last December in the Norfolk, Va., apartment where she was living while attending Norfolk State University.
Burnes, 22, was a junior studying computer science at the school of about 7,000 students, according to a Wednesday report in the Virginian Pilot newspaper. It had been reported in December that she was a fine arts student.
Her body was found on Dec. 9. A medical examiner determined that she might have been killed two days before that.
According to authorities, Reginald L. Davis, the man charged with Burnes's death, was convicted of rape and abduction in Chesapeake, Va., in 1989. He served 12 years in prison then was released on mandatory parole in 2001, and two years later he was discharged from parole, according to Virginia Corrections Department officials.
Davis was arrested on Monday and charged with killing Burnes.
On Wednesday the Virginian Pilot reported that Davis had been employed by Norfolk State University from March 2002 through January of this year as an administrative specialist in the Academic Affairs Division.
The newspaper quoted NSU officials as saying it has not been policy to conduct criminal background checks on applications for university jobs other than positions on the police force. But now that policy "is going to change," an NSU spokeswoman said.
According to court documents, when police detectives questioned Davis during their investigation of the killing, he acknowledge that he had been in Burnes' apartment before she died. The records include a statement that a struggle in the victim's apartment had been overheard on Dec. 7 and that a man had been observed leaving the premises afterward, the Virginial Pilot said.
An affidavit for a search warrant stated that Burnes "had a problem" with a man at NSU who "had been coming to her apartment unannounced," the newspaper reported.
When the homicide investigation was begun in December, Norfolk police spokesman Chris Amis said there were no suspects in the case. An NSU spokeswoman said Burnes had been a student at the school since 2000.
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