Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Call for Clemency!

By the time you read this, it may already be too late for the young man in the photo above...Troy Davis. Georgia's pardons board rejected a last-ditch clemency plea from death row inmate Troy Davis on Tuesday despite high-profile support from figures including the pope and a former FBI director for the claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

Troy Davis is scheduled to die today by lethal injection for the killing of off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail, who was slain while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked. It is the fourth time in four years that Troy Davis' execution has been scheduled by Georgia officials.

Steve Hayes, spokesman for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, said the panel decided to rejected Davis'latest request for clemency after hearing hours of testimony from his supporters and prosecutors. The board did not elaborate on the decision in its written official response to the clemency application.

The decision appeared to leave Davis with little chance of avoiding the execution date. Defense attorney Jason Ewart has said that the pardons board was likely Davis' last option.

Troy Davis' lawyers have long argued Davis was a victim of mistaken identity. But prosecutors say they have no doubt that they charged the right person with the crime.

The case of Troy Davis has captured worldwide attention largely because of the doubt that has been raised over whether he indeed is the man who killed Officer MacPhail.

Several of the witnesses who helped convict Davis at his 1991 trial have backed off their testimony or recanted. Others who did not testify say another man at the scene admitted to the shooting.

The U.S. Supreme Court even granted Davis a hearing last year to prove his innocence, the first time it had done so for a death row inmate in at least 50 years. But in that June 2010 hearing, Davis couldn't convince a federal judge to grant him a new trial. The Supreme Court did not review his case. Federal appeals courts and the Georgia Supreme Court have upheld his conviction, leaving the parole board as his last chance.

Officer MacPhail's relatives said they were relieved by the decision. "That's what we wanted, and that's what we got," said Anneliese MacPhail, the victim's mother. "We wanted to get it over with, and for him to get his punishment."

I'm just saying....If you're going to take somebody's life, make damn sure you've got the right person...All of these people who have suddenly recanted is bothering me..It should be bothering anyone truly interested in fairness and justice..


So just what happened on that summer night in 1989? Officer Mark MacPhail was working a late-night shift as a security guard on Aug. 19, 1989, when he saw a homeless man who had been pistol-whipped at a nearby Burger King parking lot. He rushed to help.

Moments after Mark MacPhail approached Troy Davis and two other men, he was shot in the face and the chest. He died before help arrived.

Witnesses identified Troy Davis as the shooter and shell casings were linked to an earlier shooting Troy Davis was convicted of. There was no other physical evidence. No blood or DNA tied Troy Davis to the crime, the weapon was never located and several witnesses who testified at his 1991 trial have disputed all or parts of their testimony.

One of them, Harriet Murray, told the jury she saw Davis pistol-whip her friend. She identified him as MacPhail's killer in a police photo lineup and later pointed to him as the shooter in court, saying he was smirking when he pulled the trigger.

But now, 11 years later, Murray gave defense attorneys a more vague account of the shooting and didn't name Davis as the killer. Others who did not testify at the trial have since said another man admitted shooting MacPhail.

Prosecutors say many of the concerns about the witness testimony were raised during the trial, and allegations that someone else later confessed are inconsistent and inadmissible in court.

Those questions compelled anti-death penalty groups to get involved. Amnesty International, a human rights organization, started its campaign in February 2007. It printed a report looking at the case and sent it to thousands of members across the globe.

"It took a lot of work for us to break through the noise, and to be serious about the questions of doubt and innocence," said Laura Moye of Amnesty International.

The group inspired Gautam Narula, a University of Georgia student, to fight for Davis' life. Narula plans to attend a rally on Davis' behalf in Atlanta on Friday.

"If it's true that Davis is innocent, this is something that could happen to anyone," said Narula, who has also visited Davis on death row. "Someone was sentenced to death for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. And that means that anyone could be Troy Davis. It happened to be him and it could happen to any of us."

Something to keep in mind....The details are murky and I have to ask myself , what was he even doing ,being there and being involved in an altercation with a homeless man? Probably not important now...but as I said before...Be damn sure he's the right man!!

In Life and death...There are no do overs and nobody wants to hear- "Ooops" later on!

POST SCRIPT- Troy Davis was executed at 11:08 pm est- September 21, 2011.


A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

It certainly has my heartbeat up a notch. Just reading this makes me feel closer to someone I've never met and seeing the photo of him makes it very real. I can't even imagine how one would feel knowing with every fiber of his being that he did not do it and having to be put to death. At least life in prison would give him more time. But like you said in your post, you cannot say oops after he's taken his last breath.
Another name for my prayer list.
Thank you for sharing this story.

Peace and love,

Arlene said...

What an example of man's inhumanity to man. This issues is further compounded by our very own justice system and what a fair trial means. If we throw in the issue of race then this gets even worse.

It's amazing to me that today 2 people who we know are guilty of breaking the law have been flown to a desert kingdom with a million dollar ransom paid by a king for their freedom. At home we have a muddled situation with unclear facts where a King gave his life for freedom and a black man is killed by the state. SMH!

Anonymous said...

That unfortunate situation offered very little closure for all involved,a man died without further proving his guilt of a crime.I wonder how long will we continue to tolerate a broken legal system, if you have money you get proper defense,if you are poor you are screwed especially if you are a sorrow is for the family who suffered their lost(dead policeman's family),TROY did not die in vain ,his spirit lives on,the fact that we are still taking about this tragedy is further proof of that.My GOD bless the soul's of those who possibly take an innocent man's life.


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