League of the South member Tyler Watkins Davis pleads not guilty in 'Unite the Right' beating
A member of the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) has pleaded not guilty to taking part in the beating of a black man after the “Unite the Right” rally turned violent in August 2017.
A judge in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Thursday set a trial for Feb. 11-13, 2019, for 50-year-old Tyler Watkins Davis.
Davis is one of four people charged with beating 21-year-old DeAndre Harris after the “Unite the Right” rally turned violent on Aug. 12, 2017.
Police say Harris was attacked by a group of white supremacists in a parking garage and beaten with pipes, wood slabs and poles.
The FBI and the Clay County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office picked up Davis on Jan. 24 at his home in Middleburg, in northeast Florida.
Davis, accompanied by his wife and a family member, appeared in court in Virginia on Thursday and answered, “yes, sir,” and “no, sir” to questions from Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard Moore about whether he understood the proceedings and knew what a not-guilty plea meant.
“After discussing that with your attorney, who decided to plead not guilty?” Moore asked.
“I did,” Davis responded.
“Have you told your attorney about any witnesses who might assist you?” Moore asked.
“No, sir,” Davis responded.
Three others, 20-year-old Daniel Patrick Borden, Jacob Scott Goodwin, a 24-year-old neo-Nazi sympathizer from Ward, Arkansas, and 34-year-old Alex Michael Ramos of Jackson, Georgia, have pleaded guilty or been convicted of the attack on Harris.
Goodwin is serving an eight-year sentence. Ramos was sentenced in August to six years in prison . Borden’s sentencing, initially set for Monday, was postponed until Jan. 7, 2019.
Davis, who is heavily tattooed, can be seen in a video of the attack wearing a boonie hat and all-black clothing with a League of the South logo on the shirt. Two others in the video remain unidentified.
The four, along with 21-year-old James Alex Fields Jr., have become something of a cause célèbre among neo-Confederates, racists and the “alt-right,” where they are hailed as “political prisoners” and fundraisers are held in their names.
But at hearings on Monday and Thursday, when Borden and Davis were in court, as well as at the sentencings in August for Goodwin and Ramos, no supporters outside of a few family members turned out to back the men.
Davis is a charter member of the D.B. Coleman chapter of the Florida League of the South based in Middleburg.
After police arrested Davis, Florida LOS chairman and national LOS chief of staff Michael Tubbs took to the alt-right social media platform Gab to plead for help for Davis.
“This is our boy,” Tubbs posted. “He and his family will need our help.”
According to court records, Davis lost his job as a technician with Comcast after being arrested, and he now works in a retail store for $9 an hour.
The “Unite the Right” rally also saw the arrest of Fields, who is charged with murder in the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Police say Fields rammed his car into a crowd, killing Heyer.
Fields faces a first-degree murder trial in November and December in state court and also faces federal hate crime charges related to the incident.
During a brief status hearing Thursday in state court, Fields, shackled at the hands and feet and now sporting a full beard, didn’t speak as he looked around the courtroom while attorneys discussed the case.