Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Troy Davis, Quite Possibly Innocent of Murder, Executed in GA

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Folks, it being the seventh anniversary of my late husband Michael’s death, I really hadn’t expected to be writing anything tonight.  But something so awful has just happened that I had to express my outrage . . . Troy Davis, 42, was convicted in 1991 of killing a policeman, Mark A. MacPhail.  But Davis maintained his innocence until death; more than that, seven witnesses recanted their testimony and three members of the jury that had convicted Davis said that Davis should not be put to death.

Yet he was, and I find that not only sad, but extremely upsetting, especially as Davis was willing to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence.  (The Georgia Department of Corrections refused his request, without explanation, earlier this morning.)

Here’s a link to tonight’s story:

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2011/09/21/1746796/troy-davis-pronouced-dead.html

And it’s not only me who feels justice has been denied here.  Barry Scheck, who runs the Innocence Project, said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” this evening that substantial doubt existed as to whether or not Davis was innocent.  William S. Sessions, former director of the FBI, said that he believed there was more than enough evidence for Georgia to stay the order of execution.   Here’s a few of his words, quoted from last week’s editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Serious questions about Mr. Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion, and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction,” Sessions wrote. He urged a state pardons board to commute the sentence to life in prison.

Look.  I’m just one woman, but I know when something is morally wrong.  The execution of Troy Davis tonight was a morally unjust and extremely wrong-headed action that everyone in this country should feel terrible about.  This man may well have been innocent, and if so, him being executed tonight was nothing less than cold murder — which begs the question, “When did Georgia forget about the Ten Commandments?”  Because perhaps the foremost commandment is this one: thou shalt not murder (often given in erroneous translations as “thou shalt not kill”).

According to the MSNBC TV reports, Davis’s last words were something along the lines of, “May God have mercy upon your souls” (to the people actually giving him the lethal injection) and he maintained his innocence until the very end.

I don’t know whether or not Davis was innocent.  But I do know Scheck and Sessions are very bright, able men, and both of them said the evidence did not warrant execution.

I really do not understand why the state of Georgia did this tonight, other than to show how barbaric they are.  But I do know this; I will keep my money out of Georgia.  I will keep myself out of Georgia.  And I will not do any business with anyone who lives in Georgia for the time being, either, as my own form of personal protest until the state of Georgia stops executing people who may well be innocent.**

———–

** Note: this will not bring Davis back.  I know this.  I also know it may hurt me down the line with some friends, who are as innocent as I believe Davis most likely was . . . but the only way to hurt a state that refuses to do the right thing is to hit them in the wallet.  That’s why I am taking this stance.

2 Responses

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  1. This is why I don’t believe that the death penalty should be used unless it’s beyond a shadow of a doubt. Anything less, an innocent person may be put to death, and that is unacceptable. Yet child rapists, some serial molesters, even with DNA evidence, are only sentenced to minimal terms. I’d say they definitely got it backwards.

    likamarie

    September 22, 2011 at 2:50 am

    • I agree 100%, Lika.

      Because there was a great deal of doubt as to whether or not Mr. Davis really was innocent as he maintained until his execution, I don’t understand why Georgia didn’t do what I feel was the right thing: commute his sentence to life in prison while they did their best to figure out whether or not he was indeed an innocent man wrongly convicted of this crime.

      Note that I’m not saying he should’ve been released, though if he really was innocent, to spend 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit seems Hellish.

      I also heard the former Warden of that prison (his name escapes me), who was interviewed by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC during late-night programming. The Warden said that in his opinion the death penalty is not an effective deterrent against egregious crimes; he also said that there was a great deal of doubt, just as had Barry Scheck and William Sessions (the two I talked about in my blog post), regarding the evidence in this case. And that Troy Davis may have been an innocent man.

      What struck me the most about this Warden was his tone of voice. He sounded defeated. Extremely depressed. Very upset. He said this was a terrible thing, something that should not have happened, something that would take a terrible toll on the correction workers who had to put Troy Davis to death . . . he said that most of them are good men and women, and some of them may well have felt Davis was innocent. Even if they hadn’t, putting someone to death where there’s a very big doubt as to whether or not this was really the right person is too final of a solution.

      I called it “cold murder” before and I’ll say it again: if Troy Davis was innocent, as I believe he most likely was, what the state of Georgia did in executing him was cold murder, pure and simple. And we shouldn’t be proud of that, at all, in the 21st century.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 22, 2011 at 3:33 am


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