Rally Held to Protest Possible Release of Layton Davis Murderers


Published on August 10 2020 4:33 pm
Last Updated on August 11 2020 6:45 am
Written by Greg Sapp

A good-sized crowd braved the heat and humidity over the noon hour Monday to show support to the family of the late Layton Davis, an Illinois State Trooper who was shot and killed in the line of duty in March of 1976. The rally took place to protest the possible release of Davis' murderers.


Trooper Davis was an Effingham County resident on routine patrol when he stopped a speeding car at the southbound Green Creek Rest Area, north of Effingham along I-57. The occupants of the speeding car were being sought in connection with a crime in the Chicago area and thought that's why they had been stopped. Trooper Davis was not yet aware of the incident in Chicago. The pair in the car, Aaron Hyche and James Taylor, overpowered Trooper Davis and shot and killed him. They then fled to Effingham where they took a different car and kept the car's owner, Anna Mae Willenborg, as a hostage. Anna Mae was at Monday's rally and was recognized for her ordeal during the incident. The pair made it to Clay County where they were captured and arrested. 

Effingham County State's Attorney Bryan Kibler told those gathered that there is a possibility that Hyche and Taylor could be released. There are two possible methods being pursued by the two. One is through release by the Illinois Prisoner Review Board. That has been a possibility since the pair first became eligible for parole 20 years ago. Kibler said it has been a "rite of passage" for whoever is serving as State's Attorney to travel to Springfield to oppose Hyche and Taylor's release. 

Kibler said there was never any support for the pair's release until last year, when Hyche got four votes for release from the 15-member panel. He needs eight votes to achieve his release, and it's the same case for Taylor. 


Kibler said the other avenue open to Hyche and Taylor is to seek executive clemency from the governor. J.B. Pritzker could release them or commute their sentences to time served, meaning they would be released.

Kibler said Hyche still has 300 years to serve for Davis' murder, plus 20 years for Anna Mae Willenborg's kidnapping, and 75 years for the attempted murder of James Hahn, who was shot at by Hyche during the pursuit. Hahn died recently. Taylor still has 200 years to serve for murder and 20 years for the kidnapping.

Kibler reported Hyche's case is to go before the Prisoner Review Board the morning of August 27. Taylor's review has not been scheduled, but Kibler believes it will occur by November.

The rally was held not only to show support for the Davis family and Anna Mae Willenborg, but also to remind citizens who oppose Hyche and Taylor's release to contribute petitions and objections. Here's the address:

State of Illinois...Prisoner Review Board...ATTN: Angie...319 E. Madison St. Suite A, Springfield, IL. 62701. James Taylor's identifying number is C68879. Aaron Hyche's number is C68880. Hyche is being held at Dixon Correctional Center, while Taylor is incarcerated at Danville Correctional Center.


We were live from the lawn of the old courthouse in Effingham Monday as family and officials spoke in opposition to the clemency and parole of the men convicted of the murder of Illinois State Trooper Layton Davis in 1976.

Posted by 979 XFM on Monday, August 10, 2020


Members of the Davis family were on hand Monday. Jami Davis, who is married to City Deputy Police Chief Kurt Davis...Trooper Davis' grandson...spoke on behalf of the family, and also read a letter written by Trooper Davis' son, Louis. She shared about Trooper Davis' farm near Watson that he cared for for 30 years, his service in World War II, and how he came home from his shift many nights covered with grease from helping a motorist repair their broken down vehicle, or blood for assisting at the scene of a car crash, or poorer from helping out someone in need.

She acknowledged that Hyche and Taylor have served several years in prison, but added, "It will never change the harm they have done."

Local St. Reps. Blaine Wilhour and Darren Bailey also participated in the rally. Wilhour said, "I'm sorry we have to be here; that the family has to worry about this every year."

Bailey said, "Write those letters, make those phone calls" opposing Hyche and Taylor's release. Both legislators voiced strong support for the many active and retired members of the law enforcement community gathered at Monday's rally, with Bailey saying, "We will do everything we can to restore honor to your profession."

It was noted by Kibler that a murderer in the Metro East was released after 20 years in prison. The inmate had killed a child. When objections began to be heard regarding the release, the governor's office contended, "no one ever objected, no one ever said anything."

Now, here's your opportunity to speak up.

Here's an audio review of Monday's event, which is also available on our Facebook page...