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Roommate charged in murder of ThunderCats writer Stephen Perry

James William Davis

James William Davis

Police in Zephyrhills, Florida, have charged Stephen Perry’s roommate in the May murder of the ThunderCats writer.

The St. Petersburg Times reports that 45-year-old James William Davis, who had been identified as “a person of interest,” was arrested today on a charge of first-degree murder. He has been in Pasco County Jail since May 21, when he was arrested on unrelated drug charges.

Perry’s van was discovered on May 16 at a Tampa motel, reportedly near a severed arm. More remains were found in a dumpster at a gas station two miles from his ransacked home. James Davis and his wife Roxanne Davis, 49, were missing as well. However, police later arrested the couple on unrelated charges. Last month, a torso also was discovered and identified as Perry’s.

According to the Times, Perry’s death is still being investigated, and Roxanne Davis has not been ruled out as a suspect.

Perry, 56, suffered from bladder cancer and had been jobless, without health care and, for a time, forced to live in his van with his 5-year-old son Leo. Over the last eight months of his life he received assistance from the Hero Initiative, which helped him to line up work and pay rent, utilities and medical bills.

Perry was best known for his work on the mid-1980s animated series ThunderCats and SilverHawks, both developed by Rankin/Bass. However, he also wrote comics like Timespirits and Psi-Force for Marvel and Wally Wood’s THUNDER Agents for Deluxe.


Roommate, friend paint a grim picture of Stephen Perry’s last months

Timespirits #9

Timespirits #9

Police have released few details of the investigation into the possible murder of ThunderCats writer Stephen Perry, who disappeared from his home in Zephyrhills, Florida, at least nine days ago.

However, in an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, Perry’s roommate James Davis, considered a “person of interest” in the case, recounts details of what may have been the writer’s final months.

Perry, who suffered from bladder cancer, had been jobless, without health care and, for a time, forced to live in his van with his 5-year-old son Leo. Over the past eight months, the writer’s plight was brought to the attention of the comics industry by the likes of artist and longtime friend Steve Bissette and the Hero Initiative, a charity that helped him to line up work and pay rent, utilities and medical bills.

But on Sunday police discovered Perry’s van abandoned at a Tampa motel with a severed arm nearby. More remains were found in a dumpster at a gas station two miles from his ransacked home. On Friday police arrested James Davis and his wife Roxanne Davis, who shared the house with Perry, on unrelated charges.

In the interview, James Davis contends Perry had a crippling addiction to oxycodone, which he was prescribed for cancer pain. But he also questions whether the Timespirits creator was actually ill, and accuses him of hatching eBay scams to support his drug habit. However, Bissette assures the newspaper that Perry underwent surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed in March 2009, and quit painkillers “cold turkey” that summer.

Davis also claims he received a text message from Perry on May 14, two days before police discovered the van, thanking him for watching the house and saying “he was going somewhere.”

Related:
• Bissette continues his remembrance of Perry.
• David Allen Jones writes about his interactions with Perry.
Mark Evanier and Colleen Doran consider Perry’s financial plight, and “the roller-coaster-ride lives of those who freelance.”


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