Georgia, USA: case against death row man Troy Davis 'thin and tainted'
At the close of a crucial “evidentiary hearing” for Troy Davis, 41, a man who has been on death row in the US state of Georgia for nearly 19 years, Anne Emanuel, legal analyst for Amnesty International USA, said:
“Given the evidence that emerged from the two-day hearing it is clear that the state’s case against Troy Davis is thin and tainted.
“Today’s hearing underscores the deepening doubt that has plagued this case.
“It is difficult to imagine that a jury would convict Davis today after hearing four of the witnesses who convicted Davis 19 years ago testify in open court before a judge that they lied.
“One eyewitness testified for the first time that he saw his relative, the alternative suspect, Sylvester ‘Redd’ Coles, shoot police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989.”
Ms Emanuel was speaking yesterday (24 June) at the end of a two-day evidentiary hearing, a long-sought-after opportunity for Davis to show that his original trial in 1991 was flawed. Davis has been on death row in the US state of Georgia since being convicted of the killing of an off-duty policeman Mark Allen MacPhail, who was shot in Savannah, Georgia on 1989.
However, the authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or any physical evidence linking Davis to the crime, and seven of nine witnesses against him later recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits. Davis has always protested his innocence.
In 2008 Davis came within two hours of execution, but in 2009 the US Supreme Court ruled that he should be allowed a new hearing to establish his innocence.
This week Amnesty has staged numerous solidarity events in support of Troy Davis’ efforts to have potentially crucial evidence heard (photographs are available at http://www.protectthehuman.com/galleries/vigil-for-troy-davis-22-june-2… ).