Troy Anthony Davis

Troy Anthony Davis was born on October 9, 1968. His life abruptly came to a halt on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 11:08 PM EST-after the State of Georgia had ordered his execution by lethal injection for a crime which he has pleaded not guilty.

He was an African American man convicted of the August 19, 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail, a White man, in Savannah, Georgia. Mr. MacPhail at the time was working as a security guard at a Burger King restaurant when he intervened to defend a man being assaulted in a nearby parking lot.

Mr. Davis was found guilty based largely on eyewitness testimony, which numerous studies have proven unreliable.

When it comes to eyewitness testimony or identification, according to a study conducted by the Innocence Project, the probability for the convicted to be misidentified is very high. The study shows that “[m]isidentification was a factor in 75% of the 273 DNA exonerations. In 38% of these mistaken identification cases, multiple eyewitnesses misidentified the same person.”

This case had gained international exposure, especially on the very last days preceding the execution of Mr. Davis.

Many national and international organizations such as Amnesty International and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and prominent national and international dignitaries in the caliber of former President Jimmy Carter; Reverend Al Shaprton; Pope Benedict XVI; Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa; former U.S. Congressman and one-time presidential candidate Bob Barr, a well known death penalty proponent; and former FBI Director and judge William S. Sessions had taken up Mr. Davis’ cause and called upon the courts to grant him a new trial or, at the very least, evidentiary hearing.

All these efforts were mounted on Mr. Davis’ behalf not for the sake of sympathy, but, rather, because the prosecution had failed to prove the convicted guilty of the crime as evidenced by the murder weapon not recovered, ballistic evidence presented at trial linked bullets recovered at or near the scene to those at another shooting in which Davis was also charged (one of the Jurors who sat on the case said that had she known about that then, she would not have voted to give Davis the death penalty). We also know that following the original trial, seven witnesses had changed or recanted all or part of their testimony. Here is the shocker: one of the original prosecution witnesses, Sylvester “Redd” Coles and other affiants asserted they had been coerced by the police to falsify their testimony. 

In spite of all the doubts in the case, the State of Georgia had decided to carry on with the execution of Mr. Davis by lethal injection.

That decision, in my opinion, was unjustifiable. It was a systematic lynching of a Black man ordered by a White-dominated, racist judiciary system. There is one thing we all can agree upon -justice did not prevail in this case.

The prosecution could not prove Mr. Davis’ guilt without any reasonable doubt. Because they had to convict someone to “solve” the case, he, unfortunately and sadly, was used for that matter as a scapegoat.

I am for the death penalty only in cases where all the pieces of evidence presented in a case can prove the convicted criminal to be the author of the crime he or she has been accused of. But if there is a slight percentage of doubt that the person is guilty, like in Mr. Davis’ case, the case must be further investigated to rule out the reasons for the doubt.

On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, Mr. Davis’ life was taken away for a crime all the pieces of evidence in the case failed to prove his guilt. That means the actual criminal, if not already dead or being bars, is on the loose possibly committing more crimes.

I hope those who took his life will never come to the conclusion that he was not the one to have killed Mr. MacPhail because it will be too late by then to recover his life and bring him back to life.

Troy Anthony Davis was lynched by the State of Georgia on Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 11:08 PM EST because he was Black and unable to afford the expensive American justice system for a fair trial. The State of Georgia has proven once again to the whole world that race and socioeconomics do matter in the American justice system.

Retrieved from The Innocence Project website on 09/23/2011: