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Gainesville begins returning to normal

Life here eased back into familiar patterns Monday as sheriff's detectives continued working to better understand what motivated the murder of two college women last week. Detectives still don't know what caused the apparent struggle between suspect Alan Robert Davis and victims Eleanor Grace and Carla McKishnie, said Lt. Spencer Mann, spokesman for the Alachua County Sheriff's Department.

"It may take several days of piecing things together before we have anything else to say," Mann said Monday afternoon.

But Davis' family continued to defend the man detectives said confessed to the killings after a six-hour interrogation session Saturday evening.

Terry Redemsky, Davis' brother-in-law, charged detectives had railroaded Davis into a confession.

"You take a person away from his work, interrogate him for six hours, without an attorney, and, well, anybody might just snap and confess to anything," Redemsky said. "He was railroaded."

But investigators said Davis was apprised of his rights and agreed to talk before he gave his statement.

Mann said the interrogation began as a routine check by police after a local merchant reported Davis had cleaned the victims' carpet the day they died.

Mann said Davis' statement to police matched with elements of the murder scene.

"Some of what he said was right on, things only the killer could know," Mann said of Davis' statement.

Davis told police Ms. Grace had sprayed him with Mace, but Mann said police still don't know what prompted the confrontation.

Davis' family described him as a steady man, not quick to anger. He had worked as a carpet cleaner for two years and was helping raise his wife's four children from a previous marriage.

According to court records, Davis did have some financial problems.

He had purchased land in Newberry in June 1990 for $19,400 and moved his family into a trailer home there. He quickly fell behind with the $197 monthly payments for the land.

Charles P. Gano, who held title to Davis' land, had begun foreclosure proceedings earlier this year. Philip A. Delaney, Gano's attorney, said Davis had asked in April for a chance to catch up on the payments and Gano had agreed for the children's sake to hold off on foreclosure.

Delaney said Davis had made payments since April.

Court documents also listed a $2,228 judgment against Davis for failure to make payments on a 1977 Buick Regal he had purchased in 1988.

Mann said there were no immediate signs that anything had been taken from the women's apartment.

The bodies were found early Friday morning. The bodies were fully clothed, and there were no immediate signs of sexual abuse.

A boyfriend found the bodies at about 7 a.m., and investigators say the murders occurred within the previous 24 hours.

The deaths traumatized the university town that had seen five students murdered as the school year began last August. Almost immediately, investigators said they didn't believe these killings were linked to the August deaths, but students and local residents quickly felt some of the fear and panic that had accompanied the August deaths.

As they made their way to summer session classes Monday, students still were talking and thinking about the recent killings. Many said having a suspect in custody, however, will allow them to concentrate more fully on their studies.

Investigation gets grant

TALLAHASSEE _ Gov. Lawton Chiles announced a grant of $139,000 Monday to help finance the investigation of the serial slayings of five University of Florida students.

The U.S. Justice Department money will be channeled to a task force of state and local law enforcement officials investigating the deaths in August.

Prosecutors have said they expect to present evidence to a grand jury in the fall in the slayings of the five students, three of whom were mutilated.