[Ppnews] Martina Correia on Troy Davis - Standing Up for My Brother on Death Row

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 13 10:52:16 EDT 2011


The Locked Gate: Standing Up for My Brother on Death Row

My brother and I don’t always agree, but I defend 
his innocence, and I’ll never walk out on him again.

by Martina Davis-Correia, as told to Jen Marlowe
posted May 10, 2011

Twenty years ago, Troy Davis was convicted of 
murdering a police officer and sentenced to 
death. Davis maintains his innocence, and his 
family, including sister Martina Davis-Correia, 
have appealed the case with help from Amnesty 
International. Davis’ final appeal was denied by 
the U.S. Supreme Court, paving the way for 
the  state of Georgia to set an execution date.

Information about the case, and to sign a 
petition to help save Troy: <http://justicefortroy.org>justicefortroy.org

Mama, my younger sister Kim, and I were visiting 
my brother, Troy, like we did most weekends. 
Inside the prison in Jackson, Ga., death-row 
inmates and family members sat in a narrow 
corridor, a locked door with yellow bars and a 
guard separating us from the non-death-row inmates and their visitors.

After Troy and I went over the latest 
developments in his case, we started talking 
about religion. Troy has always prided himself on 
knowing as much as he could about all religions. 
He’s studied the Bible, the Torah, the Quran, and 
the Book of Mormon. Troy has friends from all 
different religions and ethnic groups, and he 
wants to understand all their faiths.

We got into a heated debate about Bible verses. 
But when Troy began reciting the Bible to me, 
throwing in some passages from the Torah and 
Quran for good measure, I got mad. “I don’t have to listen to this!”

I got up, left the prison, and went and sat in 
the car, pouting, waiting on Mama and Kim.

The argument wasn’t really about a Bible verse. 
Most likely I wasn’t even right about the verse, 
and I knew it. My daily frustration about Troy’s 
case and the legal system just came to a boiling 
point that day. I couldn’t get Troy’s lawyers to 
do what they were supposed to do. They knew Troy 
was innocent, but they didn’t have the resources to properly defend him.

Troy’s sense of impotency ran far deeper. He had 
no control over his own life or over Georgia’s 
justice system, which is trying to kill him.
Every weekend, I sat in there with Troy, while he 
dissected police statements and pointed out 
enormous contradictions and inconsistencies in 
witness testimony. He had nothing to do all week 
long aside from examining his case file. And he 
had nowhere else to pour out his frustrations, 
except when he was with us. I was trying my best 
to get him out of there, trying my best to get 
someone to listen. And then, Saturday after 
Saturday, I had to relive the case with him. My 
irritation mounted each time Troy found and 
parsed a new detail about his case 
 how could he 
have been convicted on such flimsy evidence?

About an hour later, Mama came out to the car. 
Every few minutes, Troy had gotten up and gone to 
the gate looking for me, she said. He thought 
maybe I had gone to the restroom and was coming back.

An hour after we got home, the phone rang. It was 
Troy. He wanted to apologize to me.

That’s when I realized: I could get up and leave 
when I felt like it, and Troy couldn’t. He was 
powerless to leave, powerless to go after me. 
And, frustrated as I was with his case, Troy’s 
sense of impotency ran far deeper. He had no 
control over his own life or over Georgia’s 
justice system, which is trying to kill him. And 
then, on top of it all, his older sister walked 
out on him, and he couldn’t do anything other 
than twist his neck as far as he could to look 
out the locked yellow gate to see if she was coming back.

With everything else stacked against him, he 
couldn’t stand the thought that his big sister 
was angry with him. No wonder Troy called me 
right away to tell me he was sorry, even though I 
had been the one who was wrong.

I hung up the phone and bawled.

I will never walk out on Troy again. Not unless he is free to come after me.

Martina Davis-Correia and Jen Marlowe wrote this 
article for Beyond Prisons, the Summer 2011 issue 
of YES! Magazine. Jen is a human rights activist, 
author, and documentary filmmaker. She is 
currently working on a book with Martina.

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San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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