The State of Georgia sentenced Troy Davis to the death penalty for McPhail's murder over 15 years ago. Should Troy Davis be put to death by the State of Georgia? My answer is 'No'.
There is compelling evidence that Davis did not commit the crime. I don't think that we should have any doubt about killing a man. This case is full of doubt. Unfortunately, it appears that Troy Davis is reaching the end of the line.
He lost his appeal to the federal appeals court in April. The Supreme Court jumped in about 90 minutes before Davis was set to be executed back in September 2008. However, they turned down a hearing on his appeal in October.
A 30-day stay of execution expires this weekend, prompting Amnesty International and the AfroSpear to declare today a global day of action - a time for those who hate injustice to raise our voices and save this man's life.
Troy Davis expressed his gratitude to us in interview conducted on May 17th.
Villagers, here are the basic facts of the case:
In August 1989, Davis and a running buddy named Sylvester (Red) Coles spent a riotous, hell-raising night in Savannah. Eyewitnesses say Coles shot at two of his neighbors at a house party with a chrome .38 pistol, hitting and wounding one.The only remaining hope is a pardon from Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue - an act of mercy we should all demand to rescue Davis from an unjust death.
Davis wasn't at that party. But he and Coles met later and wound up in the parking lot of a Burger King next to Savannah's Greyhound bus station, where one of them harassed and pistol-whipped a homeless man.
When the man yelled for help, a cop named Mark McPhail - who was moonlighting as a security guard at the bus station - came running, and was shot to death at point-blank range.
The murder weapon was never recovered, but ballistics showed it was a .38-caliber handgun.
Coles, the owner of a .38, wasn't charged. Instead, nine eyewitnesses testified at trial that Davis was the shooter.
But seven of the nine have since recanted their testimony, with several signing sworn statements that they were coerced by cops.
One recanting witness, Dorothy Ferrell, said in a sworn statement that "I was scared that if I didn't do what the police wanted me to do, then they would try to lock me up again. I was on parole at the time."
And here's witness Darrell Collins: "I was only 16 ... After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down ... They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said."
And so it went with seven of the nine witnesses.
Of the remaining two, one initially told police under oath that he didn't know who shot McPhail - then reversed himself on the witness stand two years later, certain that Davis was the culprit.
The only other eyewitness is Coles, who went to the police the day after the shooting, accompanied by a lawyer and claimed Davis was the killer.
Coles never mentioned that he'd been carrying a .38-caliber pistol that night.
"[The police] bought Mr. Coles' story hook, line and sinker," Davis' attorneys argued in court. "And they went out into this community, and they rounded up witnesses everywhere they could find them, and they paraded them in here."
Three new witnesses now claim they heard Coles later take credit for the murder. But none of the new witnesses or sworn recantations have ever been heard in any court - and probably never will be.
Other Available Resources:
- Download a fact sheet on Davis' case
- Read more about innocence on Georgia's death row
- Where is the justice for me?: The case of Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia
- Listen to Troy tell his story
- View the facts and timeline
- Join the international discussion
- Hear from Troy's sister
- Visit Troy Davis' website