On September 23rd at 7pm Troy Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection by the State of Georgia. He maintains his innocence in the 1989 murder of police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Davis was convicted on August 19, 1989. Since then several major witnesses recanted their testimony. Their statements were the crux of the prosecutorial evidence used to convict Davis, since no other significant evidence such as a murder weapon, DNA or fingerprints were found. The quest to save Troy Davis has received worldwide attention. Pleas from important and respected leaders such as Pope Benedict XVI, former president Jimmy Carter and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu have been heard. His pleas for clemency have been turned down twice by the Georgia State Pardons and Parole Board. Amnesty International conducted an extensive examination of the case, documenting the many recantations, inconsistencies, contradictions and unanswered questions. Its report on the case drew widespread attention, both in the U.S. and overseas.
Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and the NAACP said they are planning a rally at 11 a.m. on September 22nd in front of the State Capitol to urge the Supreme Court to stay the execution of Davis. What might be too little too late, the United States Supreme Court will hear an appeal on September 29th. Actor/Activist Susan Sarandon in a recent letter she wrote to the Georgia State Board of Pardon and Parole stated
"Despite mounting evidence that Davis may be in fact be innocent of the crime, appeals to the courts to consider this evidence have been repeatedly denied for procedural reasons. Instead, the prosecution based its case on the testimony of purported "witnesses," many of who allege police coercion and most of whom have since recanted their testimony. One witness signed a police statement declaring that Davis was the assailant then later said "I did not read it because I cannot read." In another case a witness stated that the police "were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would...go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed...I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail." There are also several witnesses who have implicated another man in the crime but the police focused their efforts on convicting Troy.
It is deeply troubling that Georgia might proceed with this execution given the strong claims of innocence in this case. It has been repeatedly demonstrated that our criminal justice system is not devoid of error and we now know that since 1973, 129 individuals have been released from death rows across the United States due to wrongful conviction. We must confront the unalterable fact that the system of capital punishment is fallible, given that it is administered to demonstrate your strong commitment to fairness and justice and commute the death sentence of Troy Anthony Davis." Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Susan Sarandon
Even family members of those who were violently murdered speak out against the execution of Troy Davis. Derrel Myers, a bereaved father who lost Jojo, his 23 year old son, speaks eloquently about his son's death and how he came to terms with it in a interview on Raising Sand Radio
You can protest this travesty of justice by calling the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider its clemency decision, telephone board chair Gale Buckner at 404-657-9350, or Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker at 404-656-3300.