Sep 19, 2011
Troy Davis is scheduled to be put to death September 21. In 1991, Davis was falsely convicted of killing an off-duty cop in 1989.
Davis, a black man, was convicted despite no physical evidence tying him to the shooting. Since then, seven of nine original eyewitnesses have given sworn statements that police forced them to lie about what happened and they have now withdrawn their earlier statements. And nine other people have also testified that one of the two remaining witnesses was the real killer.
In 2009, the Supreme Court sent the case back to a district court in Georgia for a hearing to present new evidence. There a judge ruled that although Davis presented evidence that cast doubt on his guilt, “reasonable doubt” was no longer enough to win his freedom. He said Davis had not proved his innocence, despite the testimony of all the new witnesses who testified someone else committed the crime. And the Supreme Court refused to rehear it.
It seems that Davis now may have exhausted all of his appeals. As of now, there are only two ways his life can be spared. The Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles could grant him clemency. Or President Barack Obama could.
Davis has received international support. Amnesty International and the NAACP presented petitions with more than 630,000 signatures. Kimberly Davis, Troy’s sister, collected another 233,000 on the internet. Numerous celebrities and political figures like former president Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, the pope, and even former FBI director William Sessions have spoken out on Davis’s behalf.
It’s an outrage that the case has dragged on this long, to the point Davis could be put to death on Wednesday in another state-sanctioned murder. If he is put to death, every official who could have prevented it will be complicit in his murder.