Thursday, 22 September 2011

The Murder of Troy Davis Sep 22, 2011 12:40 AM EDT Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night in Georgia after the Supreme Court denied a last-minute plea for a stay, but serious concerns about his guilt remain, says Mansfield Frazier. Print Email Comments 22 Never mind the fact that during the 17th century, when the public hanging of pickpockets drew throngs to cities in England, pockets in the crowd were being picked as the trap door was being sprung … thus disproving the canard that the death penalty prevents crime; never mind the fact that the region of this country with the highest execution rate—the South—also has the highest murder rate; and never mind the fact that the Death Penalty Center’s website states that blacks who kill whites are 16.4 times as likely to be executed as whites who kill blacks … state-sanctioned murder in this country is obviously as American as apple pie. The controversial execution of Troy Anthony Davis took place late Wednesday night after the U.S. Supreme Court considered and then denied a last-minute delay of execution filed by Davis’s attorneys as they pleaded for time to prepare another appeal. His execution had been stayed three previous times. After again maintaining his innocence, Davis uttered his last words to his executioners: “For those who are about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls … may God bless your souls.” He was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. The TV screen has been filled with live images of hundreds of anxious, emotional Davis supporters massed across the street from the prison, which had been cordoned off by a line of law enforcement officers clad in full riot gear. Thousands of other supporters gathered in cities around the world. If there were pro-death penalty advocates present at the prison, they were not shown by the TV cameras. In 1991, Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Savannah, Ga., police officer Mark MacPhail. There was no conclusive forensic evidence to tie him to the crime, and of the nine witnesses who said they saw Davis pull the trigger, seven have since recanted. A number of them now say police coerced them into giving false testimony on the witness stand, and of the two who have not recanted, one is a man other witnesses have identified as the real killer. Related Stories David A. Graham: Troy Davis Executed Lee Siegel: Our Sick Passion for Execution Troy Davis Georgia Execution Demonstrators hold a vigil for death-row inmate Troy Davis in front of the White House in Washington, Sept. 21, 2011, Charles Dharapak / AP Photo Davis’s supporters have steadfastly maintained that the recanting of sworn testimony, coupled with the lack of physical evidence in the case, raised serious doubts as to his guilt, and death-penalty opponents will undoubtedly seize on the fact that an irreparable mistake might have been made when the state took his life. More than 1 million individuals from around the world signed petitions in support of the condemned man, and organizations such as Amnesty International and the NAACP had taken up his cause over the years. Additionally, a host of prominent civic, religious, and political leaders, including former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, the Rev. Al Sharpton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former FBI director and judge William S. Sessions, all called upon the court to grant Davis a new trial, or at the very least an evidentiary hearing—to no avail. More than any other execution in recent memory—perhaps with the exception of Mumia Abu Jamal, who sits on death row in a Pennsylvania prison—the Davis case effectively held a mirror up to the American psyche and revealed a nation deeply divided over the death penalty. Remarkably, the issue of race had not reared its ugly head in the case, since seven of the original jury members were African-Americans. But three of them said they would not have voted to convict Davis if they knew back then what they know today. The fact that MacPhail was a police officer could have played a role in the state’s steely determination to put Davis to death, but death-penalty opponents maintain that the process is inherently flawed in all cases, if for no other reason than that few poor or middle-income people can afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars required to put on an adequate death-penalty defense. The state, they maintain, has unlimited resources that tip the scales of justice in prosecutors’ favor. Both sides in the Davis case laid claim to the same mantra: justice. The family of the slain officer sent a message out of the death chamber before the execution that after 22 years they deserved justice, while Davis’s supporters said they wanted his life spared for the same reason: justice. But both sides could not have been right. NEXT 1 2 View As Single Page Print Email Comments 22 Tags: death penalty, Georgia,United States, U.S. News Related Stories 11 Celebrities With Crohns Disease Paid Distribution 11 Celebrities With Crohn's Disease (Health.com) Bill OReilly Would Like To Teach America A History Lesson Bill O'Reilly Would Like To Teach America A History Lesson Police Charged For Tossing Football With 7-Year Old Paid Distribution Police Charged For Tossing Football With 7-Year Old (AOL Jobs) Rick Perry’s Lethal Overconfidence Rick Perry’s Lethal Overconfidence Rick Perry’s Lethal Overconfidence Police Charged For Tossing Football With 7-Year Old Bill OReilly Would Like To Teach America A History Lesson 11 Celebrities With Crohns Disease Comments Login or signup You must be logged in to comment angst7 2 Minutes Ago By moving on I hope this means reinstate the death penalty in all states. To do otherwise is, criminal. charlieultrasheenlikes this. Reply billharris 21 Minutes Ago The particularities of the case are beside the point. Either you conform to Western Enlightenment values in opposing all capital punishment or you remain white trash/barbarian. You're free to choose. BH Greenmeanlikes this. Reply charlieultrasheen 1 Minute Ago Racist asshole. kscr14 24 Minutes Ago If there was even a hint of doubt, how can we in a free society, kill this man? We should all care deeply. Barbaric and tragic..... and just wrong. grannieannielikes this. Reply ed66 1 Hour Ago Fifty-nine percent of Americans now believe that an innocent man has been executed in the last five years. There is more credible evidence that space aliens have walked among us than that an innocent person has been executed in this country in the past 60 years, much less the past five years. Reply dbtexas 31 Minutes Ago You are absolutely correct, if you believe in the infallibility of humans. 1 more (expand) hope lives 9 Minutes Ago Ed- you clearly are extremely ill-informed. Besides the Willingham case, look at the number of people that have been on death row awaiting execution that have been vindicated through DNA evidence. Your barbaric hubris is remarkable -- but it should not be surprising due to the fact that the truth never has been an impediment to the right. 21st Century Quaker 2 Hours Ago Here's another issue where opinions fall along partisan lines, and again we are divided as a people and only the parties benefit. The Death Penalty is clearly morally wrong and the "left" fights to have it abolished. The right sees us as being weak on crime and resists because there are some crimes that should be swiftly and surely dealt with. Why is this so hard to understand? There are indeed crimes that scream out for swift and sure retribution but our justice system is neither swift nor sure. If it were, the public might be content with "life without parole" as an alternative to the death penalty. The system is broken and we keep returning to the one issue that so divides us, rather than pressing for reform of the system itself. grannieannie and pjsoftlike this. Reply F_Grey_Parker 27 Minutes Ago Nonsense. Unless, of course, you are conflating Bob Barr and former FBI director Sessions with the "left." grannieannielikes this. W.MinixIII 5 Hours Ago I just am blown away that the execution of Troy Davis was carried out. There certainly was enough reason to for a stay. It cost tax payers more to execute someone than to lock them up the rest of their lives. The most important thing is that the death penalty is murder pure and simple. With all our technology and medical breakthroughs, the modern times we live in seem like the dark ages with respect to the barbaric killing of our fellow man. The death penalty does not keep killers from killing. If it were you trying to prove your innocence and the time was slipping away hopefully someone would at least give you that. Im a white male and its true blacks get the crap end of the stick for the most part in the courtroom particularly in the sentencing phase. Its a fact 1 out of 4 black males in this country are in prison for non-violent drug offenses. What the fuck!? Doesn't that seem like something very wrong. My heart goes out to the policemans family. My heart is broken for Troy Davis's family as well. With this sentence be carried out who can honestly say they feel justice has been seved? grannieannielikes this. Reply BenoitM 6 Hours Ago The application of law that we wrongfully call justice has taken the life of a man that claimed his innocence for over twenty years. He was murdered by the State, the witnesses and members of the jury. When the truth eventually comes out, I wish those people will be sentenced the death penalty for having killed an innocent man. grannieannielikes this. Reply 21st Century Quaker 2 Hours Ago Mr. Benoit, Good work, sir. You condemn the murder of Davis (I assume on moral grounds) and then seek the deaths of those who sought his execution. You're brilliant. ed66likes this. khalilahsabra 7 Hours Ago Troy Davis never had a chance. He was not Casey Anthony. A black man accused of murder must be a killer, but a young white girl could not possibly murder her daughter. Why two very different standards of justice. When are black people going to be free of being judged by the color of their skin? Why is the color black automatically criminal or something less than good or pure? When is race going to cease to be a reason to compromise justice? Over a million voices went unheard tonight. If justice did not hear a million voices, what about the black man who has no one to speak for him? Khalilah Sabra Muslim American Society (MAS) Immigrant Justice Clinic grannieannielikes this. Reply ed66 1 Hour Ago A muslim giving direction in the USA? GO BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM. your work has not even begun in your own country. You make me sick, and most other americans. 3 more (expand) pjsoft 19 Minutes Ago Ed, in what country were you raised? It could not be America, the country founded on religious freedom. Your perception of what "America" stands for literally sickens me. The founding fathers are rolling over in their graves. khalilahsabra 7 Hours Ago You tell yourself that justice will be served and that a man that has not been proven guilty of a crime, will be executed for it. You tell yourself that this country has learned lessons of a past that executed black men without proof of guilt. You wait for some kind of merciful intervention for a man that has unjustly served more than twenty years for the testimony of witnesses that have recanted. Later you hear that this man has been executed and you realized that justice is a facade for people of color, for the poor and whatever else society deems as expendable. Somebody had to be blamed for the officer's death. Some one pointed out Troy Davis and he became that man. What a gutless society. We owed this man more and look at what he got. grannieannielikes this. Reply ed66 58 Minutes Ago you do not owe him anything. You owe us a view of your ass leaving this country. I enjoy reading your post. The more you act like this, the sooner america will wake up and send you all back the the desert. Then you will have cause to complain. And when you do, you will be killed you idiot. dbtexas 22 Minutes Ago Wow! Ed is getting even more strident! Always interesting that those that claim a higher moral purpose - which is actually just the opposite - tend to call those that disagree with them "idiots!" or worse. ed would much more enjoy a totalitarian state than allowing "different" people to express opinions. Oh, by the way ed, Mr. Khalilahsabra ain't goin' nowhere. The Constitution has his back! pjsoft and grannieannielike this. Change Text Size Author Headshot of Mansfield Frazier Mansfield Frazier Follow the Daily Beast on Twitter Most Popular Troy Davis's Final Words The Horror of the Charlie Sheen Roast Davis's Last Words: 'I Am Innocent' The Murder of Troy Davis Alec Baldwin’s Sweet Life Stories We Like ew.com 'Glee': Why Did Ratings Dip? 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