For nearly two decades, Troy Davis has sat in a cell on Georgia’s death row proclaiming his innocence to anyone who would listen. On Tuesday night, he came within two hours of being executed before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay. In what could have been his final hours, he said goodbye to his mother and sister and recorded his final statement. It was the second time in two years that he had come within a day of execution.
Can you imagine saying good-bye to your mother and your sister , not once but twice in 2 years. If this man is innocent and it sure looks that way, has he not been through enough along with his family!The Supreme Court granted the stay in order to decide whether it would hear Davis’ appeal for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence of his innocence. Davis was sentenced to death for allegedly killing a police officer in Savannah in 1989. Seven of the nine non-police eyewitnesses who testified against Davis at trial have recanted, many of them saying their statements were coerced by police. Despite this and other evidence of Davis’ innocence, the Georgia Supreme Court denied Davis a new trial. The Innocence Network filed a brief in the case, highlighting the unreliability of eyewitness identification evidence, which has been a factor more than 75% of the 220 wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing to date. Last year, the Georgia Legislature took steps to begin improving eyewitness identification procedures statewide, a move which could help prevent future wrongful convictions based on eyewitness misidentification.
The Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision in the next week, and if they refuse to hear the case a new execution date will likely be set.