Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles in Atlanta will on Monday determine the fate of Troy Davis, a convicted cop killer whose impending execution has spurred global protests as advocates point to what they see as a faulty conviction.
Davis was convicted in 1991 for killing police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, a 27-year-old father of two small children who was shot to death in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah in 1989. Since then, questions about Davis' trial have proliferated: several witnesses, some of them jailhouse informants, have recanted or altered their testimony.
In Georgia, the parole board has the sole authority to commute a death sentence. The parole board has once before rejected an appeal by Davis, but the board has three new members since then. Davis' legal team has already submitted a clemency application, and on Monday lawyers and witnesses will press their case for what could be the last time. Prosecuting lawyers will also have an opportunity to argue for the execution to continue.
Davis' Lawyers: Abundant Evidence Someone Else Killed MacPhail
Davis' lawyers cited abundant evidence that someone else had killed MacPhail. They noted that among the witnesses who reversed their initial testimony, some have said that Sylvester Redd Coles -- who was at the crime scene and implicated Davis -- told them he pulled the trigger.
We are hopeful that Georgia will take this opportunity -- as many other states have done -- to show that the integrity of capital punishment is best preserved by reserving it for cases where no doubt exists as to the guilt of the accused, one of Davis' lawyers, Jason Ewart, said. In light of the doubt cast on Troy Davis's guilt by all the new evidence and witness testimony in this case, the execution of Troy Davis will only weaken the perception of the legitimacy and fairness of our criminal justice system and capital punishment in particular.
Davis' case has produced pleas for clemency from Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter, campaigns by Amnesty International and the NAACP, and a thousand person march in Atlanta that featured people wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan I am Troy Davis.
I don't want to see a potentially innocent man executed, marcher Perry Goodfriend, 52, of Decatur, Ga. told The Wall Street Journal. I'm really anxious now that the appeals have been exhausted....I just hope the global outcry is loud enough to stop it.