The Devil and Doyle Davidson

Did a preacher's obsessions push Dena Schlosser over the edge?

Somehow, John Schlosser didn't notice his wife was a psychotic mess. Talking to a police detective the day of Maggie's death, he was unemotional and didn't seem to grasp what had happened. CPS evaluated John before returning his daughters to him. According to the Morning News, John said he felt "melancholy" about the baby's death, but he was "almost done being very sad when I buried her."

Dena was diagnosed as suffering from "bi-polar disorder, severe, with psychotic features." At first, she was found incompetent to stand trial. But a cocktail of medications pulled her out of her psychosis, and the court eventually deemed her fit.

Dear Lisa,
David Hollenbach

Doyle Davidson has led Plano's Water of Life Church for 25 years.
Doyle Davidson has led Plano's Water of Life Church for 25 years.

I have done the will of God and in every other time when it looked like I had missed God, and my enemies were telling me that I had sinned, God came through and exalted me. Get ready the time for God to exalt me is here again...I love you, Doyle, July 7, 2005

The demon had been 4 inches wide and more than 6 feet tall with a tail, Davidson testified in a packed Collin County courtroom in February. The bizarrely proportioned spirit had reared up over Davidson a year and a half earlier in his new home, "stood in front of me and spoke to me...trying to scare me."

The demon had a message: Lisa is not your wife.

"I said, 'Lisa is my wife,'" Davidson says. "And the demon disappeared."

During Dena's trial, the preacher claimed he "barely knew" the Schlossers, even though he'd been the first person John had called after his shocking conversation with Dena. Davidson had prayed for Connie and performed Maggie's funeral. John testified Davidson was a confidant. "When Dena said something that was against the teachings of the church," says Dena's attorney David Haynes, "John would bring her to Davidson."

Davidson says he realized Dena "had demons" the first time he met her--when she came to the church and asked for $5,000. He turned her down, he says, because he didn't have the money. "That was the first conversation and the longest," he says.

But Howard Shapiro, John's attorney, also describes a close relationship between Davidson and the Schlossers. "He [Davidson] certainly got into the Schlossers' minds, bodies and souls," he says. "Their relationship was a lot more detailed than Doyle Davidson wants to admit."

On the witness stand for almost two hours, Davidson testified about his demon-busting. "I do not believe that any mental illness exists that is not a manifestation of demonic activity," Davidson said, "and that medication can never straighten out a person. Only the power of God can make a person perfectly sound." But Davidson stopped short of saying he told people not to use psychotropic drugs.

"If they have the faith and God directs them, they need the demons cast out," he said. "And if they don't, they need medication."

Dena's trial ended in a hung jury. After the verdict, medical tests revealed that she has an inoperable brain tumor; there's no way to know how long it had been there or if it affected her psychosis. Instead of a retrial, Dena's case was heard by a judge, who declared Dena not guilty by reason of insanity and sent her to a state mental hospital where she'll likely spend the rest of her days. John, who has the couple's two children, has since filed for divorce and is attempting to have Dena's parental rights terminated. He no longer attends Water of Life.

After his appearance in court, Davidson reported back to his flock, praising God for the opportunity of sharing the gospel with the world:

"I noticed a woman sitting behind two defense attorneys, in a slumped-over attitude, who appeared greatly depressed. I would wonder from time to time, 'Who is this woman, and what is she doing sitting there?' As they moved more toward the things of the gospel, the things of the Spirit, I saw her head rising up, and she started looking at me. I thought, 'My goodness, that's Dena Schlosser.' I could see the words I was speaking were ministering life unto her...God bless her."

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