Monday, June 29, 2009

 

Georgia Death Row Inmate, Troy Davis, Safe Until September

Today the US Supreme Court revealed that there will be NO DECISION on the Troy Davis case until the court reconvenes in September. Supporters of Davis have been rallying for the Court to take up his case in order that evidence of his innocence finally be heard.

Below is an article about about today's press conference in Savannah, Georgia, where thousands of petitions were delivered to District Attorney Larry Chisholm.


Monday, Jun. 29, 2009
60,000 signatures supporting Troy Davis delivered
By RUSS BYNUM - Associated Press Writer

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Supporters of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis delivered petitions with 60,000 signatures Monday to the office of Chatham County's district attorney, who's being pressured to consider a new trial for Davis based on questions raised in his appeals.

About 25 people from groups such as the NAACP and Amnesty International handed a stack of petitions more than two feet high to spokeswoman for District Attorney Larry Chisolm at a news conference outside the Chatham County courthouse.

"We have sufficient evidence, we believe, to show that Troy Anthony Davis is innocent," said Prince Jackson, president of the NAACP's Savannah branch. "We are asking that he be given a chance. After all, his life is at stake."

Davis has spent nearly 18 years on death row for the 1989 slaying of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. His attorneys say he deserves a new trial after several witnesses at his trial recanted their testimony.

Though the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether it will hear Davis' latest appeal, his supporters are already working to put pressure on Chisolm, who was elected Chatham County's first black district attorney last year with much of his support coming from black voters in Savannah. Davis also is black.

A decision from the high court was expected by Tuesday, as justices are taking off on their summer break. If the court rejects Davis' case, it would clear the way for Georgia to set a new execution date for Davis, who has been scheduled to die by lethal injections three times since 2007 but was spared when courts intervened.

Martina Correia, Davis' sister, said her brother was in decent spirits and "praying for the best" when she visited him over the weekend. Correia said she hoped Chisolm would give weight to the petition signatures, 11,000 of which Davis' supporters said came from Chatham County.

"He's a fresh pair of eyes taking a look at this case," Correia said.

Chisolm's predecessor, Spencer Lawton, was district attorney when Davis was convicted in 1991. Prosecutors under Lawton, who retired last year, rejected Davis' claims of innocence and labeled statements by recanting witnesses as "suspect."

Chisolm's spokeswoman, Lydia Sermons, said Monday the district attorney had no comment. She has previously said that Chisolm wasn't sure he had the legal authority to halt Davis' execution, and that he would not comment until after the Supreme Court ruled.

MacPhail was slain 20 years ago while working off-duty as a security guard at a bus station. He had rushed to help a homeless man who had been pistol-whipped at a nearby parking lot, and was shot twice when he approached Davis and two other men. Witnesses identified Davis as the shooter at his 1991 trial.

But Davis' lawyers say new evidence proves their client was a victim of mistaken identity. They say three people who did not testify at Davis' trial have said another man confessed to the killing.

The case has attracted worldwide attention, with calls to stop Davis' execution from former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Desmond Tutu. Rallies have been held as far away as Paris.
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