Sept 21st, 2011
by F. Grey Parker
UPDATE 10:15pm CST - Troy Davis was executed at 11:08pm EDT
9:45pm CST via ABC:
"The U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-minute stay of execution for Troy Davis after a delay to weigh arguments."
There was no physical evidence in his case. He was convicted on the basis of eyewitness testimony only for the killing of an off-duty police officer. 7 of the 9 witnesses against him have recanted. There are multiple allegations of police intimidation in the investigative phase. What's more, there is another suspect. It is more likely that this other suspect committed the crime.
The fight to prevent this miscarriage of justice has not merely been the latest cause celebre of committed opponents of capital punishment. For example, here is former F.B.I. direstor William Sessions:
"What quickly will become apparent is that serious questions about Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction. Last summer, an extraordinary hearing ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to answer these questions instead left us with more doubt.
At Davis’ evidentiary hearing, witnesses called by Davis recanted trial testimony and made allegations of police pressure. Others testified that an alternative suspect had confessed to them that he committed the crime. One eyewitness testified, for the first time, that he saw this other suspect, a relative of his, commit the crime. Police witnesses for the state of Georgia alternatively asserted that the original trial testimony was the true version of events and that it was elicited without coercion."
For more background, here is last week's (very belated) CNN report:
More than a million informed Americans have acted on Mr. Davis' behalf. To no avail. Yesterday, the Georgia Board on Pardons and Paroles basically said "who cares."
And now, this.