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Ever since Rush Limbaugh's 3 day attack on Georgetown student Sandra Fluke nearly a year ago, StopRush has been working to convince his advertisers that he does not deserve their support.  

As thousands of Limbaugh's advertisers have headed for the exits--large, reputable, companies like TurboTax, JC Penney, AOL, Sears, and Wendy's--other companies have taken their place.  Many of these ads are for things like erectile dysfunction treatments, gold and silver, real estate investment opportunities, and churches.  The kind of churches that don't mind being associated with racism, homophobia, and attacks on women.

One of Limbaugh's advertisers on WLAC Nashville is a large church called Cornerstone.  Cornerstone is led by Pastor Maury Davis, a man who murdered a Sunday School teacher for getting paint on his boots.  

Details on Davis's gruesome crime and quasi-redemption after the jump

Note:  This account is a recap of a longer article published in Nashville Scene in 2009.

In January, 1975, an 18 year old Maury Davis and his friend Ricky Payne drove up to a vacant house in Irving, TX.  The house was being renovated for sale by Ron Liles and was located across the street from the residence of his 54 year old mother and Sunday School teacher, Jo Ella Liles.

Jo Ella Liles noticed Davis and Payne looking in the windows of the house and went to see what they wanted.  Davis said that he was interested in buying the house, so Liles let them in to give them a tour.

There was a bucket of paint in the house, and somehow Davis got paint on his boots, which made him furious.  Payne was in the other room when he heard the sound of a struggle.  When he returned he saw a horrific sight:

Davis was stabbing Jo Ella with a buck knife, cutting her throat and severing her carotid artery and windpipe. The blade penetrated so deeply that it bit into her spinal cord, nearly decapitating her.
A mailman saw Davis and Payne hurry out of the house, jump into their car, and drive away.  He copied down the license plate, and Davis and Payne were arrested quickly afterward.

When interviewed by his lawyer, high-powered Dallas defense attorney Dennis Brewer, Davis was completely unrepentant:

"It's only been 24 hours since you killed this woman," Brewer says to his cold-eyed client.

"You don't seem too upset about it."

"I didn't even know that old lady," Davis replies.

He chides Davis for his calm. "It's kinda like you run over a cat or a dog," the lawyer says.

"Naw, man," Davis replies. "I like cats and dogs."

Ricky Payne took a deal and agreed to testify against Davis at trial.  Brewer initially planned to propose a 50 year plea bargain, but the district attorney pressed for the death penalty.

One man who was selected for the jury was a veteran of the Korean War named Don McDaniel.  McDaniel was a born again Christian who attended church with Brewer and Davis’s family.  Before the trial began, McDaniel told Brewer that he would help in any way that he could.

McDaniel soon saw that the other jury members wanted either execution or life in prison for Davis.  He began to work on convincing them that Davis had been possessed by a demon, claiming that he had been attacked by demons himself in the past.  McDaniel was able to influence the other jurors into finding Davis guilty of manslaughter, with a maximum penalty of 20 years.

While in prison, Davis turned to religion and started preaching to the other inmates.  In 1983, after only 8 years in prison, he was released due to overcrowding.  
Back on the outside, Davis quickly got a job at a church and began to climb the ladder.  He recognized the value of his story and began giving his testimony, embellishing it by adding details like a high speed chase and crash before his arrest (the arresting officer says that never happened).

Davis eventually became a pastor at Cornerstone Church, just outside of Nashville, TN.  He has used his story of redemption to help transform the church into a “mega church” with thousands of members and online merchandise.  In fact, for only $3 you can download his testimony.  Davis lives in a $700,000 home in a gated community in Goodlettsville, TN.  Redemption has been good business.

When StopRush initially contacted Davis about Cornerstone’s ads on the Rush Limbaugh Show, and sought to bring publicity to his sordid past, he issued the following tweet:

Davis has apparently made peace with himself for the brutal murder of Jo Ella Liles.  He has not, however, made peace with her son Ron, who says that Davis has never made any attempt to contact him.  Liles struggles with a low-paying job in a pharmacy while Davis gets rich off his mother’s brutal killing.

As if his murderous background weren’t controversy enough, Davis has been outspoken about the evils of Islam and illegal immigration and apparently believes that Barack Obama is the Antichrist.

Interviewed by Mike Huckabee in 2010, Davis was unable to recall the less-profitable details of his crime (although he did recall that other people got the details wrong):
"I honestly don't remember the details of that. And I've talked to my attorney and psychiatrists that had worked with me, and your mind shuts down things that are that horrible...some of the stuff I've read according to the police reports are not true."
Maury Davis is the worst kind of religious leader—one who grants himself forgiveness, then mines the misery of others for gold.  If there were any divine justice, Davis would still be in prison instead of capitalizing on his heinous crime.  

There is a successful social media movement called StopRush which has been working for nearly a year to hold Rush Limbaugh accountable by educating his sponsors about his hateful views.  You can lend your voice to StopRush in the following places:

Join:  The Flush Rush Facebook community
Visit:  The StopRush sponsor database
Tweet:  #stoprush Twitter campaign

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