Six retired Georgia corrections officials — including the director who oversaw executions for the state — sent a letter to Georgia corrections officials and Gov. Nathan Deal (R) asking them to urge the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider their Tuesday decision to deny Davis clemency, and, if that fails, to “allow any personnel so inclined to opt-out of activities related” to Davis’ execution. The officers’ statement centered on the “awful lifelong repercussions” that result from participating in executions, particularly those who maintain their innocence until their death. From the statement:
We write to you today with the overwhelming concern that an innocent person could be executed in Georgia tonight. We know the legal process has exhausted itself in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, and yet, doubt about his guilt remains. This very fact will have an irreversible and damaging impact on your staff. Living with the nightmares is something that we know from experience.
Former President Jimmy Carter said “this tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment.” He added, “If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated.”
This story has me angry as hell. America, a country that profoundly and emphatically expects the world to adhere to human rights throughout the world and yet allows state sponsored murder of an individual who's case has more holes in it than Swiss cheese!
To often the case in America we allow the tail to wag the dog and allow emotions to drive our laws!
Seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses have recanted all or part of their testimony, with many citing pressure from the police to make false statements. An exception is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who made the initial report of Davis’s guilt, and is regarded by the defense as the chief suspect. New witnesses have sworn affidavits that Coles confessed the crime to them. An array of figures called for a stay of execution, including death-penalty supporters Senator Bob Barr and former FBI director William S. Sessions.
One female witness took her family into hiding after Coles told her he would kill her if she dropped the dime on him with regards to his confession of killing the "off duty" officer.
Affidavits Recanting Earlier False Testimonies or Statements on Davis:
"The truth is that Troy never confessed to me or talked to me about the shooting of the police officer. I made up the confession from information I had heard on TV and from other inmates....I need to set the record straight."
"I told them I didn't know anything about who shot the officer, but they kept questioning me....I was scared (so) I told them what they wanted to hear....I signed a statement saying that Troy told me that he shot the cop."
"I got tired of them harassing me, and they made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I told them what they wanted to hear. I told them that Troy told me he did it, but it wasn't true. Troy never said that or anything like it."
Darrell DD Collins:
"After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear....It is time that I told the truth. I am not proud for lying at Troy's trial, but the police had me so messed up that I felt that's all I could do or else I would go to jail."
"I have had a chance to review a statement which I supposedly gave to police officers on June 25, 1991. I remember that they asked a lot of questions and typed up a statement which they told me to sign. I did not read the statement before I signed. In fact, I have not seen it before today....What is written in that statement is a lie."
Moreover, Davis is Black. Officer McPhail was white and a cop. Georgia's law enforcement establishment wanted revenge. As a result, anyone poor and Black is vulnerable anywhere in America. It's the cross they bear for their race, ethnicity, and economic status in a nation long known for racism, as virulent now as ever.
I leave you with this thought on our "great judicial system":
A once shinning star in the eyes of many while stomping the grounds of the frozen tundra committed a most heinous of crimes. Orenthal James Simpson decapitated two human beings, one being the mother of his children. Much evidence (DNA) was attributed to Simpson and the crime. Simpsons DNA (RFLP Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis) was done from a blood drop found on the driveway that was large enough to be tested on through the procedure and found this to be a 1in 170 million match of Simpson's. (Meaning it could only be OJ's blood) and yet this monster walked free.
To date not one piece or shred of evidence (DNA) was ever linked to Troy Davis, other than the testimony which was recanted - yet Davis was murdered because a police department, State, and family had to have some poor black mans ass to make them feel vindicated for their loss, all the while the facts where stacking up that there is a huge probability that Mr. Davis was wrongly convicted.
Today, America is the only Western country still enforcing capital punishment. Moreover, since 1990, 30 nations abolished it, and among 74 still executing, four are the main abusers - America, China, Vietnam and Iran. It's long past time for us review what's becoming no longer tolerable. If capital punishment is to exist in America it must be adjusted to reflect our times and certainly not the times of the stone age.
If we are to continue to have State sponsored murder, lets at least ensure that DNA matches the crime and lets not continue to judge capital murder cases on eyewitness accounts - for God knows humans often and error frequently, especially when being threatened and coerced by police .
Capital punishment can be barbaric, unjust, and unacceptable for any number of reasons in modern societies. No wonder Amnesty International (AI) calls it "the ultimate denial of human rights. It is often premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice." So if we are going to demand State supported murder, lets make sure we have got the right guy or gal before doing so!
The lesson that I learned from this is that the South is no better today than it was during slavery...If your poor and black in the South and your within 500 miles of a capital offense your chances are high you'll be accused of this crime, and what a travesty!
I say to all whom dropped the ball in this case - what a sad "State" of affairs and shame on you!
Roger A. West
NFTOS Editor - in - Cheif