Marrying for Murder: Shannon Mohr and Dave Davis

Lori Johnston
10 min readJul 25, 2020
Shannon Mohr and Dave Davis on their wedding day, September 24, 1979 (photo:

Like many a good little Catholic girl, as a child Shannon Mohr thought she wanted to be a nun when she grew up. A sweet and caring child who was both a daddy’s girl and a mommy’s best friend, she eventually decided that she wanted to marry and have a family. Nursing suited her caring and compassionate nature and it was a natural fit for her.

By the summer of 1979, Shannon was 24 years old and while happy with her career choice, she was feeling down over her personal life. She had recently broken up with a firefighter from her Toledo, Ohio hometown and was not looking forward to attending a friend’s August 4 wedding solo. Her mother Lucille encouraged her to go, suggesting that perhaps she might meet someone at the wedding. It was sadly prophetic for Shannon.

At the wedding, she met 35-year-old Dave Davis, a self-described millionaire who told Shannon he was an orphan who had recently lost his fiancée in a car wreck. He said he owned farms all over the country. He also claimed to be a Vietnam veteran who had been injured in the war, a football player for the University of Michigan who had played in the Rose Bowl and then graduated with a psychology degree. Davis was so charismatic, he not only swept Shannon off her feet but charmed her parents, Lucille and Robert, as well.

David Richard Davis (photo:

On September 1, 1979, Shannon turned 25. Twenty-three days later, she and Dave eloped to Las Vegas, only eight weeks after meeting. Eight days after the wedding, and two days after returning from their honeymoon, $220,000 in insurance was taken out on the new Mrs. Davis.

Shannon left Toledo and moved to Dave’s 100-acre farm in Hillsdale County, Michigan, where he grew corn and soybeans. She was able to find a nursing job at the nearby Flower Hospital in Sylvania. Shannon’s salary was the only real income in the Davis household; it’s unknown what excuse Dave gave her for the lack of cash flow.

On July 23, 1980, only 10 months into the marriage, Shannon and Dave took their Tennessee walking horses to visit their neighbor, Dick Britton. Dave helped Dick repair some machinery and then he and Shannon trotted…



Lori Johnston

Writer, reader, margarita drinker. Currently looking for a “dare to be great” situation.