ATLANTA – Two Georgia Congressmen are seeking clemency for a man condemned to die for the 1989 shooting death of an off-duty Savannah police officer.
Troy Anthony Davis, 41, faces a Sept. 21 execution at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson.
Davis was sentenced to death for the August 1989 shooting death of off-duty Savannah police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. However, his execution has been postponed several times pending appeals, and his supporters have organized countless vigils and marches, contending that he has been wrongly convicted. They point to a number of prosecution witnesses who have recanted their testimony since the original 1991 trial, according to published reports.
“How has it come to this – that we put a man to death without a single shred of hard scientific or relevant physical evidence,” U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said in a statement. Johnson is a former defense attorney.
“If we turn our backs to Troy Davis now, we turn our backs on justice and the Constitution,” Johnson added.
The arguments prompted the U.S. Supreme Court in August 2009 to order a federal court judge to “make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes (Davis’) innocence.” A federal judge in August 2010 ruled that Davis “is not innocent.”
“This is one of those exceptional instances where adhering to the letter of the law could lead the state of Georgia to commit a grave injustice,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said in a statement.
“That is why it is important for people of goodwill to stand together and speak out in this case,” Lewis added. “The parole board has the power to intervene on the people’s behalf to right a deplorable wrong, especially when there is so much room for doubt about this conviction. I believe the board seeks to do what is just and look forward prayerfully to the upcoming clemency hearing with the faith that justice will prevail.”
If executed, Davis will be the 29th inmate put to death in Georgia by lethal injection.