Troy Davis Is Scheduled To Die As Early As Tomorrow

Ken AshfordCrime1 Comment

I’m not opposed to the death penalty in principle, so long as it is applied sparingly and evenly and, you know, justly.

Troy Davis is facing execution tomorrow, even though

Three of four witnesses who testified at trial that Davis shot the officer have signed statements contradicting their identification of the gunman. Two other witnesses — a fellow inmate and a neighborhood acquaintance who told police that Davis had confessed to the shooting — have said they made it up.

The incident involved a man beating a homeless person in Savannah, near a Burger King, in 1989.  A policeman intervened; the assailant shot and killed the officer. 

There was no gun found.

No physical evidence, like fingerprints or ballistics.

In other words, Troy Davis was convicted solely on eyewitness testimony, and most of those eyewitnesses have since recanted.

Prior to the 1989 killing, Troy Davis had pleaded guilty to a concealed-weapons charge after a traffic stop, for which he paid a $750 fine.  His record was otherwise spotless.  He was gainfully employed at the time. 

And here’s the thing: suspicion was brought to him by a tip to the police — a tip from, many now believe, the actual gunman.

Even former FBI director William Sessions has doubts about Davis’s guilt.  Yet, procedural rules prevented Davis from timely filing an appeal, or having evidence to prove his innocence heard.

And he dies tomorrow.

From the Amnesty International website:

Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Police Officer Mark Allen McPhail at a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia; a murder he maintains he did not commit. There was no physical evidence against him and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the state’s non-police witnesses from the trial have recanted their testimony. Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis.

One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester “Red” Coles – the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

From Davis’s website:

The prosecutor has always said, he would accept nothing less than “Death” for me and even when a witness came forward during trial and admitted perjury, she was detained and threatened, and therefore the jury never heard her true testimony until years after my conviction and she was a Key Eye Witness, who was also related to the initial attacker that we will call Mr. C.

In the years following my conviction, my family had no more money to help me, two of my lawyers became Judges after my conviction, and did what they thought was a good job, yet never came to visit me unless my mother could bring them money, but we have the “Good Ole Boy” system here in the courts. The third lawyer the state put on came to court drunk, refused to ask the witnesses questions I wanted asked, and was later disbarred. Then the state appointed another lawyer to make sure the first lawyers did their job, this lawyer testified that he talked to me and my family, that was a flat lie.