DeathWatch does not often weigh in on executions taking place outside of North Carolina, but Georgia’s Troy Davis presents a special situation.
Winston-Salem attorney Mark Rabil describes the case:
It took a jury in Savannah, Ga., only a few hours to convict Troy Davis of the 1989 shooting of police Officer Mark McPhail, and only a few more hours to sentence Davis to death. The case against Davis was based solely upon the testimony of so-called eyewitnesses; no physical evidence exists. Alarmingly, seven of those nine have since recanted their original testimony, stating that they were wrong or lied about Troy Davis’ guilt in the face of intense coercion by law enforcement. Davis has always maintained his innocence. The police focused on Troy Davis because their first suspect, Redd Coles, told them Davis was the killer. Five new witnesses say that Coles was the one who shot McPhail. Witnesses saw Coles harassing a homeless man, shoot the police officer who tried to intervene, and then hide the gun. Coles himself admitted to fighting with the homeless man but fingered Troy Davis as the shooter of McPhail.
For those who are not sure Mr. Davis is innocent but are also unsure of his guilt, know that clemency means Mr. Davis will not go free – he will be re-sentenced to life in prison. There should not be death where there is doubt.