Help Save Troy Davis’s Life!
Help Save Troy Anthony Davis’ Life
Troy Anthony Davis has been languishing on Georgia’s death row for over 15 years for purportedly killing an off-duty police officer. There are serious questions about his guilt given that:
- There is no physical evidence linking him to the offense, and no murder weapon has been found.
- Eyewitnesses have recanted their stories.
- There are accusations of police intimidation of witnesses.
On Monday, October 13, 2008, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review his appeal, and a warrant of execution has been issued.
Here are excerpts from the affidavits of witnesses who changed the testimony they had given at Troy’s trial:
“[The police] were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would … go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed…I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail.”
“After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read … I was totally unsure whether he was the person who shot the officer. I felt pressured to point at him … I have no idea what the person who shot the officer looks like.”
“The police came and talked to me and put a lot of pressure on me…. They wanted me to tell them that Troy confessed to me about killing that officer. The thing is, Troy never told me anything about it. I got tired of them harassing me …. I told them that Troy did it, but it wasn’t true.”
“[T]here was and is no doubt in my mind that the person who shot the officer had the gun in and was shooting with his left hand.” Davis is right-handed.
Severe cuts to Georgia’s legal defense resources meant that two lawyers represented close to 160 people on death row, including Davis, when he needed critical work done for his appeals. Also, in 1996, Congress passed the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which increased restrictions on appeals. No court would hear the new evidence – the witness recantations. Davis was turned down throughout his appeals, including at the US Supreme Court.
Davis came within 23 hours of execution in July, 2007. Then, the Georgia Supreme Court said it would consider his “extraordinary motion for a new trial” appeal in August, 2007 and held a hearing in November. On March 17, 2008, the court rejected his appeal on “overly rigid” (dissenting Judge Sears) technicalities setting an impossibly high bar for the recantations to be considered.