Thousands rally behind death row inmate Troy Davis

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ATLANTA — Hundreds of thousands of people are rallying behind Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis – not just because they oppose capital punishment but because they believe the state could put an innocent man to death.

The case is fraught with drama: The murder of an off-duty police officer. Conflicting eyewitness testimony. Last-minute court decisions sparing a condemned man’s life and global dignitaries who say they fear an innocent man could die.

Davis has captured considerable attention because of the doubt raised over whether he killed Mark MacPhail in Savannah in 1989. The U.S. Supreme Court even granted Davis a hearing to prove his innocence, the first time it had done so for a death row inmate in at least 50 years, but he couldn’t convince a judge to grant him a new trial.

The officer’s family believes there’s no doubt that Davis killed MacPhail and prosecutors say the right man was convicted.

Davis is scheduled to die Wednesday, the fourth time his execution has been set in four years. He once came within two hours of being put to death. His attorneys say his legal appeals are exhausted.

Still, supporters hope to convince Georgia’s pardons board next week to spare his life.

Executing Davis “risks taking the life of an innocent man and would be a grave miscarriage of justice,” said former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat from Georgia and death penalty opponent who wrote a letter on Davis’ behalf.

Conservative figures have also become involved. Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, who served under President George W. Bush, urged the pardons board to grant Davis clemency because “it is clear now that the doubts plaguing his case can never be adequately addressed.” And former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr said in a letter that “even for death penalty supporters such as myself, the level of doubt inherent in this case is troubling.”

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xpresso1 09/16/11 - 07:15 am
Well I support the death

Well I support the death penalty also, but if there is doubt about this man's guilt then he should not be put too death. I only support the death penalty for clear cut cases without any shadow of doubt. I hope that they do the right thing in this case.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 09/16/11 - 07:46 am
Sorry, xpresso1, but the

Sorry, xpresso1, but the issue of "reasonable doubt" was addressed by the jury. It would have taken only one juror with reasonable doubt to have sidelined the conviction or sentence. There was none.

Techfan 09/17/11 - 09:57 am
7 of 9 witnesses have

7 of 9 witnesses have recanted. Among the 2 who haven't is Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who was the first person to implicate Davis. Coles also was considered a suspect in the murder. One person said that Coles told people at a party that he had killed a cop. Several of the witnesses have signed sworn affidavits that they were coerced by the police and several have said they were intimidated by Coles. Nine people have signed affidavits implicating Coles. When juries receive false and incomplete evidence, a stay should be required and a new trial ordered.

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