Someone raised this subject in today’s Open Thread. I think it deserves more attention.

JJP’s dna wrote a piece on this case last year.

In case you’re not up to speed, here’s some background information. . .


In a case that has attracted international attention, Pope Benedict XVI and the former US president Jimmy Carter have asked for the sentence to be commuted to life in prison without parole.

Davis, a 39-year-old African-American, is on death row for the murder of officer Mark MacPhail in 1989, but seven key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimonies since his 1991 trial and post-trial testimony implicating another man as the gunman has emerged.

[An informant] retracted his incriminating account of Davis’ supposed confession, while several other supposed eyewitnesses later took back their trial evidence while insisting they had been under “a lot of pressure” from police to provide signed statements.

One witness . . . who identified Davis as the gunman at the trial, later said: “Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either.

“After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read.”

Chatham County prosecutors, however, are sure that Davis killed MacPhail, who rushed to a Savannah Burger King car park late at night after hearing the screams of a man who was being pistol-whipped.

Prosecutors say that MacPhail, a 27-year-old father of two, was shot down by Davis before he could draw his weapon. They say Davis then stood over the fallen officer and fired again and again.

Davis has admitted being at the scene, but has always denied shooting MacPhail. No physical evidence against him has ever been produced, the murder weapon has never been found and the case against him at trial consisted entirely of witness testimony.

Mr. Davis is scheduled to be executed at 7:00 tonight.

Thanks to JJP commenter, “MacDaddy,” for pointing this out. MacDaddy has more information on the case, here.

UPDATE: Stay of Execution has been granted for Troy Davis.

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