At 7pm tonight, Troy Davis will, most likely, be executed by lethal injection. Let’s just recap what happened here.
A dude was convicted of killing a cop based on the testimony of 9 witnesses, and physical evidence consisting of two bullets and two .38 shell casings. Weapon never found.
After the trial, 7 of the 9 witnesses recanted their testimony. Some later claimed they could not positively identify Davis as the shooter. Some identified another individual as the shooter (Coles, below). At least one said he’d been intimidated by the police into incriminating Davis. And one said he testified that Davis had admitted the murder to him in the hopes that police would then go easy on him.
One of the two that did not recant testimony was Redd Coles. Interesting thing about Coles. He was the one that went to the police to say Davis had done it. He owned a .38 that he claimed to have loaned to someone the morning of the murder and that was never found again. And after the fact, three witnesses came forward with sworn affidavits saying that Coles had admitted to having committed the murder.
At least three of the jurors who had been involved have stated they would not have found him guilty given the new information, and one of which appeared before the state pardons board the other day to say so in person. Innumerable international dignitaries, ranging from civil rights leaders to ex-presidents to the pope have taken the time to ask that the death sentence be suspended.
Now, I understand if they don’t want to necessarily overturn the conviction. I strongly disagree with the court decision that a new trial is not needed: it absolutely is. But I’m flabbergasted that the post-trial findings aren’t enough to at least commute the death sentence. This exact sort of situation is specifically why there is such a pardons board. So to know that they’re going to ignore it and just let this go forward shakes me to the core.
At 7pm tonight, a whole lot of people will commit one murder. And every last one of them will get away with it.