Friday, July 27, 2007

Man spared hours before his scheduled execution because police suborned perjury

Troy Davis, 38, has been taken off death row in Georgia because seven of nine witnesses against him now say that they were pressured by police to lie under oath in the case. Other witnesses have implicated another man in the killing of a Savannah police officer in 1989. There was no physical evidence against Davis.

Here's a story about the case:

Some Witnesses Now Say He Is Innocent
By Peter Whoriskey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 16, 2007

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A Georgia man is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Tuesday for killing a police officer in 1989, even though the case against him has withered in recent years as most of the key witnesses at his trial have recanted and in some cases said they lied under pressure from police.

Prosecutors discount the significance of the recantations and argue that it is too late to present such evidence. But supporters of Troy Davis, 38, and some legal scholars say the case illustrates the dangers wrought by decades of Supreme Court decisions and new laws that have rendered the courts less likely to overturn a death sentence.

Three of four witnesses who testified at trial that Davis shot the officer have signed statements contradicting their identification of the gunman. Two other witnesses -- a fellow inmate and a neighborhood acquaintance who told police that Davis had confessed to the shooting -- have said they made it up.

Other witnesses point the finger not at Davis but at another man. Yet none has testified during his appeals because federal courts barred their testimony.

"It's getting scary," Davis said by phone last week. "They don't want to hear the new facts."

No comments: