[Ppnews] Life and death struggle goes on for Georgia inmate Troy Davis

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jun 10 11:58:15 EDT 2011

<http://www.finalcall.com/>FinalCall.com News

Life and death struggle goes on for Georgia inmate Troy Davis

By Jesse Muhammad -Staff writer-
Updated Jun 10, 2011 - 11:13:45 AM

(FinalCall.com) - For the second time since becoming president, 
Barack Obama May 20 pardoned eight people convicted of crimes. 
Georgia death row inmate, Troy Davis, wasn't on that list and is 
still facing a possible fourth execution date.

"The warden in the prison doesn't like my brother and all the 
notoriety he's been receiving. They are really trying to execute my 
brother and do not want him to get a new trial. They know if he gets 
a new trial, their case will not stand because there is no evidence 
showing he did the crime," Martina Correia told The Final Call in a 
phone interview on May 26.

According to the Georgia Corrections Department, the state recently 
changed to a different lethal injection drug to put inmates to death. 
When executions resume, Mr. Davis could be the first to have the new 
drug run through his veins.

"They want to break Troy's spirit but he told me he's constantly 
praying to Allah and that gives him joy. They restricted him from 
having phones calls since our mother's funeral in April and he's been 
on strict lockdown since March on a bogus accusation," said Ms. Correia.

U.S. Supreme Court justices March 28 kept Atlanta's 11th Circuit 
Court of Appeals from examining the controversial case, in which Mr. 
Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 killing of 
Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. That was Mr. Davis' final appeal.

One of his last chances for freedom rests with the state parole 
board, which could choose to hear his case and grant clemency.

Over 20 exonerated death row survivors signed an open letter in 
support of Mr. Davis and sent it to James E. Donald, who chairs the 
Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles.

"We don't know if Troy Davis is in fact innocent, but, as people who 
were wrongfully sentenced to death (and in some cases scheduled for 
execution), we believe it is vitally important that no execution go 
forward when there are doubts about guilt.It is absolutely essential 
to ensuring that the innocent are not executed," the letter reads in part.

The exonerees also wrote to Mr. Donald, "When you issued a temporary 
stay for Troy Davis in 2007, you stated that the Board 'will not 
allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its 
members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the 
accused.' This standard is a welcome development, and we urge you to 
apply it again now.Doubts persist in the case of Troy Davis, and 
commuting his sentence will reassure the people of Georgia that you 
will never permit an innocent person to be put to death in their name."

"We're going to keep fighting. We have to find new witnesses who are 
not afraid to come forth and testify. Many are afraid and I don't 
know why unless the cops have something on them," said Ms. Correia.

Ms. Correia, along with a host of organizations, including Murder 
Victims Family Members, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death 
Penalty, Amnesty International and the NAACP, are calling on 
political, religious, and community leaders to cry out like never 
before in demanding freedom for Mr. Davis, who was convicted and 
sentenced to death in 1991.

Witnesses claimed Mr. Davis, who was then 19-years-old, and two 
others were harassing a homeless man in the parking lot of a fast 
food restaurant when off-duty officer MacPhail arrived to help the 
man. Witnesses also testified at trial that Mr. Davis then shot the 
officer twice and fled the scene.

Since Mr. Davis' conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him 
have recanted their testimony and no physical evidence has been 
presented that links Mr. Davis to the killing.

Since 2007, the state of Georgia has slated Mr. Davis for execution 
three times only to have the executions delayed.

In August 2009, the Supreme Court ordered the federal court in 
Savannah to hear Mr. Davis' innocence claim in an evidentiary 
hearing. In June of 2010, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore 
Jr. heard two days of testimony and two months later he ruled that 
Mr. Davis' defense team failed to present satisfactory proof of innocence.

Mr. Davis' attorneys argued that Judge Moore was incorrect in his 
refusal to hear from potential witnesses who could testify that 
another man confessed to taking the life of Mr. MacPhail. The 
attorneys filed this latest appeal in January, only to see it rejected.

The clock is ticking and supporters are flooding Facebook, Twitter, 
YouTube, websites, blogs and events on the grounds on behalf of Mr. Davis.

"Troy has lost both of his parents since being on death row and 
hasn't been able to say goodbye to either of them. But the more they 
do to him on the inside of the prison, he says, the more he's going 
to keep smiling at them," said Ms. Correia.

(To follow updates on this case 

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