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City of Tallahassee worker’s murder still unsolved 16 years later

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 11:36 AM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee Parks and Rec employee was found shot to death in his home 16 years ago. Sylvester Davis’ murder is still unsolved.

The Tallahassee Police Department classifies it as a cold case and detectives say new leads are rare.

Davis’s family is hoping this is the year someone steps forward or police finally get a break that leads to his killer.

“It seems like it was just yesterday,” Helen Gainous said.

Gainous visits her son’s grave each year on this day. Davis was murdered at the age of 33. She’s forever haunted by the questions: Who, and why?

“Do you have hope after all this time that this will be solved?” WCTV anchor Julie Montanaro asked.

“Yes, it’ll be solved,” Gainous said. “And the one that we’re not looking at maybe, is the one we need to look at.”

Davis was found shot to death inside his home on Arnold Street back on Oct. 26, 2005. Police say it’s likely Davis knew his killer because there were no signs of forced entry or struggle.

“We believe the motive to be definitely personal,” TPD Homicide Detective Jerry Megna said as he discussed the cold case.

Whoever did it has managed to keep the secret. Detective Megna told WCTV the department still does not have any suspects and tips are few and far between.

“We did have a lead in 2020 that we did follow up with; however, that lead did not lead us anywhere significant,” Megna said.

Davis was a popular employee at the Dade Street Community Center. Over the years, his family and friends remember him with a gospel song, a balloon release and renewing the search for leads with a billboard.

So far, Davis’s murder remains unsolved.

“How can you just brutally shoot somebody like that?” his mother said, shaking her head and wiping tears from her eyes.

His mother is praying she’ll be alive long enough to see her son’s killer brought to justice.

“I’m getting older, not with the best of health right now, but we’re going to solve this before I see my heavenly Father,” Gainous said.

“We hope somebody with knowledge of the case comes forward,” Detective Megna said. 

He’s hoping someone will step up with new evidence, new witnesses or step forward to clear their own conscience after all this time.

If you have any information about Davis’s murder, call TPD at 850-891-4200 and ask for Detective Megna.

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