Pasadena Man Sentenced to 60 Years for Stabbing His 5-Year Old Sister To Death

An Anne Arundel County judge recently sentenced 20-year-old Stephen Jarrod Davis II, of Pasadena, to life in prison, with all but 60 years suspended for the 2020 First-Degree Murder of his 5-year-old sister, Anaya Jannah Abdul, State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced earlier this month.  

In October 2022, Davis entered a guilty plea to First-Degree Murder and opted for a bi-furcated trial on the issue of criminal responsibility, where he had the burden of proof to persuade a jury by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time of the act, and because of a mental disorder, he either couldn’t conform his behavior to the law or couldn’t appreciate the criminality of his actions. 

Expert witnesses called by the State and Defense agreed that Davis suffered from some mental health disorders, but disagreed whether they were sufficient to render him Not Criminally Responsible.

“The defendant took his anger for his family out on the most vulnerable member, his 5-year-old sister, stating that was enough to cause damage,” Leitess said. “Prosecuting a defendant this young for such a violent crime is not easy, but the defendant must be held accountable for his actions.”

During the sentencing hearing, Judge William Mulford said he agreed with the jury’s verdict and that Davis had killed his sister to hurt his family. He agreed the defendant was motivated by hate and anger and that he used his sister to do so. The judge sentenced Davis, who was 17 at the time of the murder, with a recommendation to serve his sentence at the Patuxent Institution in Jessup, which treats youthful offenders.

On the morning of October 3, 2020, Davis’ family noticed the defendant, who was 17 years old and a senior in high school at the time, was missing from their home. Family members called police after noticing a vehicle was also gone. Later, the note written by Davis was found.

Shortly after reading the note, and while police were on scene, a sibling found Anaya in her bed suffering from stab wounds to her neck. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Police traced Davis’ cellphone to Ohio, where state troopers spotted him and attempted to pull him over.  Davis attempted to elude police, taking them on a high speed chase for more than five miles with Davis driving over 130 mph. Ultimately, Davis pulled over and was taken into custody. Witnesses testified at trial that he acted normally and followed all instructions

In a heartfelt letter shortly after Anaya's death, Fort Smallwood Elementary School Principal Bobbie Kesecker reflected on the loss of the young child. "Anaya, a kindergarten student at our school, was very sweet," Principal Kesecker wrote in the letter.  "She was quite animated when called upon, and always had something to say in the classroom."

Anaya was laid to rest following a service in Prince George County on October 19, 2020, according to an online obituary.  "Naya Pop, you will truly be missed," a family member wrote inside the obituary.  "You were a burst of sunshine, always so animated and excited about life."