Tomorrow, Georgia Murders Troy Davis

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The Nation

Tomorrow, Georgia Murders Troy Davis

It’s with shock that I report that the George Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday denied clemency for Troy Anthony Davis. The 42-year-old Davis is now due to be executed tomorrow, Wednesday September 21, at 7 pm. For those unfamiliar with the case, let’s be clear: Davis’s execution is little more than a legal lynching. This is a demonstrably innocent man that the state is about to execute in the premeditated manner of a murder.

The facts speak for themselves. Back in 1989, nine people testified that they saw Troy Davis kill Officer Mark MacPhail. Since that time, seven have recanted their testimony. Please allow me to repeat: of the nine people who testified that Troy killed Officer Mark MacPhail, seven have recanted their testimony. Beyond the eyewitnesses, there was no physical evidence linking Troy to Officer MacPhail’s murder. None. Three jurors have signed affidavits saying that if they had all the information about Troy, they would not have voted to convict. One juror even arrived in person to the Board of Pardons and Paroles to say to their faces that she would not have voted to convict if she’d had the facts. Another woman has even come forward to say that a different man on the scene that night, Sylvester “Redd” Coles, bragged afterward about doing the shooting. Of the two witnesses who still maintain that Troy was the triggerman, one is Sylvester “Redd” Coles.

From day one, Troy has maintained his innocence. But he was the wrong color, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong bank account and the wrong legal team, so he was thrown into the death house with little fanfare. Yet the tireless work of Troy’s family, particularly his sister Martina, brought international attention to the case. From former President Jimmy Carter, to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, to Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher, to Pope Benedict XVI, to Reagan’s former FBI Director, William Sessions, to the more than one million people who signed petitions, the call has gone out to spare Troy’s life. But the Board of Pardons and Paroles didn’t care. Previously the Board issued a statement that they would only allow the execution to go through, if there was “no doubt” as to his guilt. They lied.

As Brian Kammer, one of Davis’s attorneys, said Tuesday after the decision was announced, “I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice.” He’s correct. Demonstrations have been planned for today in cities around the country. I know that Washington, DC, will see people come out at 6 pm at 14th and Park Rd. NW. I know the Supreme Court could still intervene or the board could withdraw its death warrant. These are slim options, but I also know that this isn’t over until they send the poison into Troy’s veins. Troy himself has refused a “last meal,” choosing to fight until his last breath. We owe him nothing less.

Please take a moment and call District Attorney Larry Chisolm at 912-652-7308 and ask that he withdraw the death warrant.

Dave Zirin

Dave Zirin is the author of Welcome to the Terrordome: the Pain Politics and Promise of Sports (Haymarket) and the newly published A People's History of Sports in the United States (The New Press). and his writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Sports Illustrated.com, New York Newsday and The Progressive. He is the host of XM Radio's Edge of Sports Radio. Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com

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