UPDATE (05/04/2023): The Monroe County Prosecutor confirmed that on April 25, following the federal hate crime charges filed against Billie Davis, the felony battery and attempted murder charges against Davis have been dropped.

“The facts that form the basis of the federal charges are the same operative facts that form the basis of the charges here,” the prosecutor’s motion to dismiss reads. “As such, it is appropriate for these charges to be dismissed in order for the federal charges to proceed without delay.”

The original story regarding Davis’ federal charges, published on April 20, can be found below.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — An Indiana woman is now facing a federal hate crime charge and life in prison after police say she stabbed an 18-year-old Asian IU student in the head with a knife multiple times as she exited a bus.

Billie Davis, a 56-year-old Bloomington woman, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Evansville and charged with one count of a hate crime “for her racially motivated attack on a woman of Chinese descent,” the US Justice Department announced.

The stabbing

The charge stems from a Jan. 11 incident where an 18-year-old female student at Indiana University was attacked as she was exiting a Bloomington Transit bus on 4th Street near the B-Line Trail by a woman who targeted her for her race, police said.

The unknown assailant, later identified as Davis, was also riding the bus when she hit the student multiple times in the head with a then-unknown object. Bloomington police said the victim had multiple knife stab wounds on her head when she contacted them.

Police said Davis fled the scene before they arrived, but another bus passenger had followed her and helped officers track her down.

Once in custody, Davis told police she used a folding knife to stab the victim in the head due to her “being Chinese” and said it “would be one less person to blow up our country.”

Investigators also reviewed surveillance footage that captured the attack. Davis was seen removing a knife from her pocket, stabbing the victim seven times, putting the knife back in her pocket, and returning to her seat, according to investigators. They said the victim and Davis had no prior interaction before the attack.

Felony charges

Billie Davis mugshot (via Bloomington PD)

Davis was arrested by Bloomington police and booked into Monroe County Jail. She was charged with three felonies:

  • attempted murder,
  • aggravated battery and
  • battery with a deadly weapon.

Davis’ jury trial for these charges is scheduled for 9 a.m. on June 20 in Monroe County.

Federal hate crime charge

In addition, the indictment returned Thursday by the federal grand jury now charges Davis with a federal hate crime, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison or death.

The jury alleged in the indictment that Davis “attempted to kill the victim” and did so “because of the victim’s race and national origin.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Blackett and Trial Attorney Anita Channapati of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section will be prosecuting the federal case against Davis. It is currently unknown if a trial date has been scheduled for the charge.

Community response

The racist attack on the IU student sparked a wave of support for young Asian American students in the form of support groups in Bloomington and rallies against Asian hate in surrounding communities.

Additionally, it renewed hate crime legislation debates amongst Indiana lawmakers.