Photo by bloomsberries / via Flickr

A man with a history of domestic violence against his wife pleaded not guilty Friday to a murder charge for allegedly beating her to death with a commemorative baseball bat as she delivered food to him at his City Heights  apartment.

Dana Davis, 55, was ordered held on $3 million bail in the death of April Davis, his wife of more than 30 years. He was living apart from his spouse — they had six children together — and was on probation for domestic violence when he allegedly murdered her, according to Deputy District Attorney Stephen Marquardt.

The prosecutor said the defendant had been violent with the victim in the past, having been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence in 1994 and last year.

The defendant allegedly beat the 51-year-old victim with a wooden bat on the afternoon of Oct. 7, then prevented a family member and police from entering the apartment. When officers finally gained entry, she was found dead on the floor.

“This was an extremely brutal and violent act,” the prosecutor said outside court. “The defendant mercilessly bludgeoned his wife, April Davis, with a small baseball bat. He immobilized her, he hit her repeatedly in the head until she fell to the ground.”

When the defendant was convicted of punching his wife in the head last year, he was also prosecuted for choking his teenage daughter, the prosecutor said.

The defendant faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted. He will be back in court Oct. 23 for a status conference.

A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 26.

—City News Service