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Appeals court affirms civil verdict against Matthew Davis

The Missouri Court of Appeals Western District has affirmed a $500,000 civil verdict against a man whose underlying criminal charge was thrown out earlier this month. Matthew Davis pleaded guilty in May 2005 to abandonment of a body and drug charges and received a 22-year combined prison sentence. In 2004, Amber McGathey, his girlfriend, died of a drug overdose in his River Market loft. Davis is alleged to have placed her body in his car, where it was found nearly four days later. McGathey's parents filed against Davis for interfering with their right to have a timely and peaceful funeral for their daughter. The jury returned $250,000 each for McGathey's mother and father. By coincidence, Davis had argued his appeal of the 2007 jury verdict just hours after Jackson County Judge Edith Messina issued a decision Feb. 10 throwing out the underlying criminal plea. Messina said the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office had engaged in a "fraud upon the court" by withholding important information from the defense.