LAWYER: MY CLIENT NOT A KIDNAPPER

Attorney Bryan Rounds claims his client, Anthony Davis, is a businessman

ROBERT GAVIN STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: D1

Date: Friday, January 21, 2011

ALBANY -- The attorney for an Albany businessman charged with the 2009 kidnapping of a marijuana dealer presumed dead says his client has no connection with the disappearance -- or two other missing persons cases.


Anthony Davis, 39, known as "Inf," is among four men charged with the June 13, 2009 abduction of 41-year-old Steven Jackson at 40 Parkwood St., identified as a marijuana storage location.


The Jackson case is being probed for ties to two other missing persons cases: Ashley Marie Carroll, 24, of Troy, last seen in Albany in May; and Donald Green, 50, of Schenectady, known as "Uncle Noonie," last seen leaving an Arbor Hill bar last February.


But Davis' recently hired attorney, Bryan Rounds, scoffed at the allegations and any link to other cases.


"Anthony Davis had absolutely nothing to do with this kidnapping of Steven Jackson," Rounds told the Times Union. "Ashley Carroll and Donald Green -- again, my client had absolutely nothing to do with that."


Rounds said any connection to the Carroll and Green disappearances is pure speculation and "unfortunate and sad" for their families.


"Unfortunately, because I have not seen a solitary piece of evidence or heard of one that connects him to those disappearances," Rounds said, "and sad, because it gives these people who loved these missing persons the false hope that my client's arrest will bring closure for them."


Jackson, of Guilderland, known as "Swag," is described by authorities as a high-level pot dealer. Law enforcement sources allege Gino Uzzell, 47, known as "G," arranged the kidnapping of Jackson, who they identified as Uzzell's drug partner. They contend Uzzell recruited the services of Davis and Ricky Thornton, 40, known as "L," to abduct the dealer at the Parkwood Street address, located in a neighborhood between New Scotland Avenue and Ridgefield Park.


Between June 14 and 16, Uzzell spoke on the phone with at least four people "for the purpose of identifying locations where Steven Jackson may be storing marijuana and or marijuana proceeds," an indictment stated.


Law enforcement sources say Jackson was waiting for drugs -- in a deal involving around 500 pounds of marijuana -- when he was kidnapped about 1 p.m. He is presumed to have died during the abduction, which allegedly lasted at least 12 hours.


Authorities familiar with the case do not believe Uzzell played a part in the disappearances of Green or Carroll. They stop short of calling Davis and Thornton suspects in those cases, but said they have definite ties to the investigations. No arrests have been made in the disappearances of Green or Carroll.


Uzzell, Davis, Thornton and Jason Benn, 37, all of Albany, are all charged with first-degree kidnapping and felony conspiracy in the disappearance of Jackson. If convicted, they face 25 years to life in prison. Benn was charged with possessing stolen property because authorities allege he used Jackson's stolen credit card at a Price Chopper the day the man was kidnapped.


Davis, who owns the Super Sandwiches and Deli Shop on Central Avenue, was formally arraigned Wednesday before acting state Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont. Thornton, in state prison on unrelated charges, appeared before Lamont Thursday represented by Conflict Defender Thomas Dulin.


The Times Union reported earlier this month that Thornton and Davis were convicted in 1986 as teenagers for violent robberies that victimized the elderly. Rounds said the past cases played no significance in the kidnapping case outside of making Davis a "very attractive target" for authorities.


"My client is (no longer) the 15-year-old kid who was convicted of those crimes," Rounds said. "He's a businessman who has been trying successfully to create a life for himself that's different than the one he had as a child -- until this."


Reach Robert Gavin at 434-2403 or rgavin@timesunion.com.