July 15, 2007
Execution Set for Troy Anthony Davis
A Georgia judge has reject a desperate, last-minute appeal aimed at trying
to stop the execution of convicted cop killer Troy Anthony Davis, schedule
for 7 p.m. Tuesday. Davis' case has become a cause for anti-death penalty
groups because several witnesses in his 1991 trial have recanted their
However, Davis has already appealed his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme
Court based on those changed witness statements. Therefore, Superior Court
Judge Penny Haas Freesemann ruled that there was no new evidence being
presented in the case and the evidence presented by Davis' lawyers failed to
meet strict standards required by state law for a new trial.
Attorneys for Davis will appeal Judge Freesemann's ruling to the state
Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a clemency hearing is scheduled before the Georgia
Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday. U.S. Rep. John Lewis plans to
testify to Davis' behalf out of concern that the state is executing an
The Death of Mark Allen McPhail
On Aug. 19, 1989, an off-duty Savannah, Georgia, police officer, Mark Allen
McPhail was working a moonlighting job as a security guard for a Greyhound
bus terminal when he heard a homeless man cry out from the Burger King
parking lot next door.
When McPhail went to help the man, who had been hit in the head with a
pistol, he was shot in the face and chest and died. Nine witnesses testified
at the 1991 trial that Davis assaulted the homeless man and then shot
McPhail when he came to help.
Since the trial, defense attorneys say several of the witnesses have
admitted they lied or exaggerated their testimony, because they were
pressured by police. In affidavits filed between 1996 and 2003, seven of the
nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their original testimony.
Witnesses Name Another Suspect
Davis' attorneys also claimed that they have affidavits from other witnesses
that claim Sylvester "Red" Coles actually killed officer McPhail.
"The new evidence does not merely impeach state witnesses, but destroys the
Dunn wrote, saying "a grave injustice may result from the execution of Troy
However, prosecutors argued that most of the witness affidavits were
included in Davis' previous appeals and should not be considered new
evidence. "Clearly, the defendant has brought these motions for the purpose
of delay," wrote prosecutor David Lock.
The judge rejected the affidavits of witnesses who claimed they heard Coles
confess to the murder of McPhail as "inadmissible hearsay."
Source : About.com