Grant Davis told a Douglas County judge on Tuesday he felt like he was “getting hit with bricks” when he was punched by former Kansas male basketball player Silvio De Sousa in an incident which caused Davis to permanently lose vision in his left eye.
Davis testified for nearly two hours at a preliminary hearing Tuesday – one in which Douglas County Judge Sally Pokorny ruled prosecutors had enough evidence to bring an assault case to justice aggravated against De Sousa.
De Sousa, whose lawyer Hatem Chahine has pleaded not guilty on his behalf, has a jury trial scheduled to begin on August 2.
Tuesday’s hearing lasted more than five hours, as prosecutors and the defense called witnesses to discuss the events surrounding the alleged battery at Brother’s Bar & Grill in Lawrence on January 1, 2020 – nearly a year before De Sousa does not announce that he is leaving the KU Basketball Team.
Shawnee native Davis, 32, was the first, wearing a patch on his left eye. He said after going to a Lenexa bar on December 31, 2019, he traveled to Lawrence to celebrate New Years, having two drinks in an hour and a half at Brother’s before going out to cool off just after midnight.
It was then that he saw De Sousa – Davis said he didn’t know he was a KU basketball player – arguing with two blonde-haired women, including De Sousa’s girlfriend, Tarin Travieso, and his softball teammate Macy Omli. Davis said he turned around to tell De Sousa to “Shut up the (expletive)”, when De Sousa charged and punched him.
Davis said he felt like he had been punched twice by De Sousa on the left side of his face, saying he fell to his knees after one of the hits when it felt like that my eye was hit by bricks. He said De Sousa was detained by one of his friends and later one of the women apologized to him.
Davis testified that his left eye had swollen with some mixed blood. He said it hurt to open his eye and after trying to fall asleep he finally went to Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
From there, Davis said he was transferred to Shawnee Mission Health, where he had the first of three eye surgeries. David Dyer of Retina Associates in Kansas City testified that his examination showed that the part of Davis’ eye where the colored pupil meets the white part had opened up, along with some of the tissue from the inside of the eye. coming outward. Dyer said Davis also missed the lens in this eye and had a detached retina.
Dyer said Davis would never see with his left eye again, as other medical procedures were done in an effort to help Davis keep his eye instead of removing it.
Davis testified that he sometimes had to sleep propped up in a certain way to heal his injury and that even now he still experiences occasional itching or pain there.
Jared Schreiner, an emergency room doctor at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, said Davis also suffered a broken bone just below his eye. While Davis was in the emergency room, Schreiner also observed hemorrhaging and bleeding in his eye before suggesting transfer to an ophthalmologist.
Omli – a prosecution witness – said she had a good view of the incident, claiming that De Sousa and Travieso were arguing in front of Brother when Davis yelled at them to shut up. Omli said De Sousa attempted to punch Davis twice with an open hand, later claiming she saw Davis bleeding from his eyes and face. She later said that she told Davis that she was sorry when he came to apologize for what he said.
Detective Lawrence Lance Flachsbarth, who interviewed De Sousa with Chahine in attendance at KU basketball dormitory McCarthy Hall on October 15, 2020, said De Sousa then claimed Davis called him a curse. De Sousa also told Flachsbarth that Davis said, “What are you going to do?” before De Sousa hits him twice.
Douglas County Assistant District Attorney David Melton during questioning urged Flachsbarth on whether it was unusual to question a suspect like De Sousa with his attorney present. Flachsbarth said that while this does not happen frequently, it does occasionally happen, while admitting these parameters usually only allows the suspect to provide a statement. Flachsbarth said without the presence of a lawyer, detectives can generally be more confronted with suspects and further challenge what they say.
Chahine called two defense witnesses: Chad Cessna, a former bouncer at Brother, and Travieso. Cessna said she saw the incident from about 25 feet away and saw De Sousa’s open-handed slap. Cessna testified that from where he was, he did not see Davis fall to the ground, nor see blood on his face.
Travieso, who said she always dated De Sousa, said she was angry with De Sousa after she couldn’t find him in the bar at midnight, which led to an argument at the outside. She said De Sousa swung and missed Davis the first time around, before connecting with her cheek the second time around, which she said resulted in redness.
Melton asked Travieso if a decision in De Sousa’s case could potentially mean a lot of money was at stake due to his potential professional basketball prospects.
“If he is successful, yes,” Travieso said.
Travieso later said that she and De Sousa had recently spoken about the possibility of going their separate ways while continuing their various career paths.
Melton also attempted to point out inconsistencies in Travieso’s testimony on Tuesday compared to what she told detectives in August, which included her first explanation that she did not remember the January 1 incident.
Various witnesses said that former and current KU male basketball players Devon Dotson, Ochai Agbaji and David McCormack were also present at Brother’s that night.
De Sousa was initially charged with aggravated battery on October 28. He and KU coach Bill Self announced on October 16, 2020 that he was leaving the team to focus on “personal issues.”
Aggravated violence is a level 5 felony, with prosecutors accusing De Sousa of “unlawfully, criminally and recklessly (d) causing grievous bodily harm or disfigurement to another person.”