Even with supporters including Pope Benedict, President Carter, and the former head of the FBI, Williams Sessions, death row inmate Troy Davis was denied clemency yesterday by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Since then, an online petition has generated over 1 million signatures in opposition of his execution by lethal injection which will take place tonight at 7pm.
Read the full story of Troy Davis after the jumpThis was the last chance that Troy had to save his life after spending a decade on death row for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer who was shot outside of a Burger King. The police officer was shot in the heart and face after intervening on an argument between several men in a nearby parking lot. One of those men, implicated Troy Davis in the killing and he was arrested. During his 1991 trial, many witnesses testified that they had seen Troy Davis shoot the police officer but the murder weapon was never found and no physical evidence linked him to the crime. He was sentenced to death in August of 1991. Many appeals in State and Federal courts followed throughout the years with seven out of the original nine eyewitnesses recanting all or part of their story, claiming that they had been pressured by police to implicate Troy Davis. New witnesses implicated Sylvester Coles, the man who brought Troy Davis to police, as the man who shot the officer with some claiming that he confessed to pulling the trigger. Still the conviction was upheld.
Although Troy is scheduled for execution tonight, he maintains his innocence. After he was denied clemency, he released this statement trough Amnesty International USA that said:
“The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath.”
In a last effort to prove his innocence, Troy is hoping that he will be allowed to take a polygraph test before his execution, which would have to be granted by the District Attorney in Chatham County where the crime was committed. A spokesperson from Amnesty thinks it could be risky:
Troy is so insistent of his innocence that he is willing to take a polygraph. I think it’s a bit of a risky strategy. Polygraph tests are not the most solid type of evidence. There are a number of legal filings at a number of different courts that they (his lawyers) are trying to see what they might be able to do to try and stop this execution.
Update: According To MyFoxNY, the request for a polygraph test was denied.
To voice your concern and speak out against Troy’s execution, please use one of the methods below provided by Big Boi and supported by artists such as Diddy, Russell Simmons, Questlove, Erykah Badu, The Dream, and Goapele:
Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles:
Phone: 404-656-0693 and 404-656-5651
Fax: 404-651-8502 and 404-651-6670
Savannah District Attorney Larry Chisolm
Phone: 912-652-7308; Fax: 912-652-7328
Local Judge Penny Haas Freesman
Phone: (912) 652-7252
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal