Veteran who fought for murdered son, dies

Published: Dec. 14, 2009 at 11:19 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2009 at 4:37 PM EST
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By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Davis family has a fairly non-decript last name but their story is remarkable, making headlines back in 2003 and even serving as the basis of a Hollywood movie. And now, News Leader Nine has learned veteran Lanny Davis is dead. The veteran fought for justice after his son, Richard, was murdered by fellow Fort Benning soldiers.

Anyone close to the family says Lanny's legacy will not be forgotten.

Lanny Davis spent his last few years of his life coping with the death of his son. Richard Davis was stationed at Fort Benning and was brutally murdered by fellow soldiers in 2003. The months after Richard's death were spent searching for answers and trying to get custody of his remains.

In an interview with News Leader Nine in 2003 Lanny Davis said, "I'm very proud of that because I told him before he left for war that I'd bring him home and I didn't do it. But this time I'll bring my son home."

Lanny's family says one of the greatest things he did in life was fight for Richard. His brother Jerry Davis said, "His legacy was Richard. I think the past few years it was on his mind 24/7 and Remy also, his wife. I know he never really got over that and you can't expect him to."

The Davis family's story got so much attention that a movie was made based on their experience. Tommy Lee Jones plays the role of Lanny during the time he lost his son in "The Valley of Elah".

"He'd come off kind of cold-hearted at times, but he had a lot on his mind and he didn't mean to," said Jerry Davis.

Davis says the Vietnam veteran was a family man who never gave up on his goal, "He was a stickler for perfection. He liked things being perfect. He was honest, he didn't mind helping people, he was a good-hearted person."

The Davis family will continue to help other families through "The Richard Davis Foundation for Peace". People close to Lanny say he would want for the foundation to go on.

Lanny had been fighting lung cancer for the past few months and lost that battle Sunday morning. Lanny will be buried next to his son Richard at Sunset Hills in Apple Valley, California on December 19th.

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