VIDEO OF TROY DAVIS:
New York Times
Death Penalty Is Upheld in Publicized Georgia Case
ATLANTA — A Georgia parole board on Friday upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of killing a Savannah police officer in 1989, despite a group of witnesses who recanted their testimonies against the convict.
It was the second time in two years that the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency for the man, Troy A. Davis, despite his lawyers’ claims of police misconduct.
Mr. Davis, 39, is scheduled to die by lethal injection in Jackson, Ga., on Sept. 23, unless the United States Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal.
A county jury in 1991 convicted Mr. Davis in the 1989 murder of Mark Allen MacPhail, an off-duty police officer moonlighting as a security guard who was shot to death while responding to a late-night fight at a Burger King in Savannah.
Mr. Davis testified he was at a nearby pool hall and left before Officer MacPhail arrived. The prosecution offered no murder weapon, DNA or fingerprints tying Mr. Davis to the killing but instead relied heavily on testimony from witnesses. Since the trial, seven key witnesses have recanted, saying they were bullied by investigators into lying under oath.
The case has received international publicity; 20,000 people signed petitions asking that Mr. Davis be spared the death penalty.
“Troy’s case represents everything wrong with the death penalty — from procedural obstacles to racial bias to witness mishandling to inadequate counsel,” said Jared Feuer of Amnesty International.
The head of the Southern Center for Human Rights, Stephen B. Bright, a law professor at Yale, called the decision “shocking.”
“For somebody to be executed,” Mr. Bright said, “we really should be sure beyond doubt that the person is guilty.”
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