By Rady Ananda
Former Georgia Governor and US President, Jimmy Carter, along with former FBI Director, William S. Sessions, among a cast of thousands, have all demanded clemency for Troy Davis, who was convicted of the 1989 shooting death of Savannah, Georgia police officer, Mark Allen MacPhail, Sr.
The Parole Board refuses to budge, despite conflicting evidence, including recanted testimony obtained under coercion, and the accusation by ten different people that Sylvester Coles was the shooter.
Though he maintains his innocence, Davis is set to be executed on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 pm EDT. Georgia state senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) has called for a strike by staffers at the prison where the execution is scheduled.
At Davis’ evidentiary hearing ordered by the US Supreme Court last year, Sessions writes, “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.”
Sessions notes, “Without DNA or other forms of physical or scientific evidence that can be objectively measured and tested, it is possible that doubts about guilt in this case will never be resolved. However, when it comes to the sentence of death, there should be no room for doubt.”
Ten people “have come forward to point the finger at a separate man present at the scene of the murder, Sylvester Coles,” writes The Guardian.
Amnesty International USA is “outraged” at clemency denial. It is demanding that the Board reconsider its decision and demanding that Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency himself. (AI has this 11th hour petition.)
“This appalling decision renders meaningless the Board’s 2007 vow to not permit an execution unless there is ‘no doubt’ about guilt. The Troy Davis case is riddled with doubt. Most of the witnesses who testified against him have recanted, while others have pointed to an alternate suspect as the real killer.
“Nearly a million supporters of human rights and justice have called for clemency in this case, so far. They believed in the common-sense notion that you should not execute someone when you can’t be sure they are guilty.
“Death penalty supporters like Bob Barr, former Texas Governor Mark White, and former FBI Director William Sessions also support clemency in this case, for the same reason. And at least three jurors from Davis’ trial have asked for his execution to be called off. Putting Troy Davis to death would be a grave injustice to those jurors who believe they sentenced Davis to death based on questionable information.”
NBC in Atlanta reports on the NAACP statement deploring the parole board’s decision:
“We are appalled and outraged by the Parole Board’s erroneous decision to uphold the state’s death sentence to murder an innocent man,’ NAACP president Benjamin Jealous said in the release. ‘There is too much doubt to proceed with an execution. No amount of deliberation will change the fact that the case against Mr. Davis has too many holes.’”
Using a diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks, Firedog Lake reports that the:
“UN Special Rapporteur also considered Davis’ case to be an extraordinary abuse of the death sentence process, as he informed the US Mission:
‘Despite receiving a significant number of complaints in relation to the carrying out of the death sentence in the United States, I have only rarely acted on these complaints. In this instance I firmly believe that the case merits this urgent appeal and warrants immediate action on the part of the U.S. Government. The second is that I take no position either for or against the death penalty but act only when it seems clear that the risk of injustice is such that internationally accepted standards will be violated in the absence of urgent intervention by the Government.’”
ColorLines recognizes that race plays a huge factor in who states kill:
“Davis’ case has become an emblem for much of what is problematic about a capital punishment system that is riddled with racism, economic disparity and error. Public capital defenders do not have the resources to properly investigate or litigate their overburdened case loads. Those with the means to hire decent legal representation are unlikely to end up on death row. Over 130 death row inmates have been exonerated since 1973, demonstrating just how many innocent people are convicted and sentenced to death.
“According to a 2001 study from the University of North Carolina, a defendant whose victim was white was 3.5 times as likely to receive the death penalty in North Carolina than if the victim were non-white. A 2005 study in California found the defendant of a white victim three times as likely to be penalized by death. Growing realizations of these problems have led more and more states to question their death penalty policies. Earlier this year, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish capital punishment.”
So, with all the hoopla surrounding what may certainly be state-sanctioned murder, one has to wonder why pro journalists have not exposed the “why” behind killing Davis. Other than the actual killer, who benefits by his death?