FARGO — The man being held on suspicion of murdering his ex-girlfriend and setting fire to the apartment where her body was found was charged with her murder shortly before 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 5.

In addition to the murder of Denise Anderson, 52, the Cass County State’s Attorney's Office also charged Sheldon Davis, 44, with endangering by fire or explosion and arson for intentionally starting the fire at 417 12th St. N. in Fargo.

According to documents filed in Cass County District Court, Anderson died of traumatic injuries suffered before the fire started.

According to the court documents:

Following the murder and setting the fire, Davis went to the house of his friend Lenny Duwayne Wilds II the morning of Thursday, Aug. 1.

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Interviewed by police, Wilds said Davis told him he had done "something bad," saying he had started a fire in his apartment by leaving a stove on.


Wilds said Davis had earlier talked about doing this, and about killing Anderson because of pending domestic and sex assault charges she filed against him, according to the court documents.

Wilds recounted to police that Davis asked him if he had ever seen a dead body before. Wilds told Davis he "thought that would be scary," to which Davis allegedly replied, "no, not really."

After catching Davis watching a news story on Facebook live about the fire and hearing that a body had been found inside the apartment, Wilds said he stopped asking questions, for fear that the body was Anderson's and that Davis had killed her.

According to court documents, police who were watching Wilds' home took Davis into custody when he came out.

Under questioning, Davis denied telling Wilds that he started the fire. Rather, Davis told police he left Anderson sleeping in the apartment that morning to visit Wilds because Anderson did not yet know he had lost his job and he wanted to give her the impression he was going to work.

In an interview with The Forum at the Cass County Jail Friday, Aug. 2, Davis denied knowing anything about the fire or Anderson’s death.

Davis has a long criminal history that includes convictions for assault, false imprisonment, terrorizing and domestic violence. The cases span a number of states, including North Dakota, South Carolina and Georgia.

In the Aug. 2 interview with The Forum, Davis indicated his intention to plead not guilty if he was charged. As of Monday night Davis had not yet appeared in court on the charges.