The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied death row inmate Troy Davis clemency this morning. The decision comes after years of doubt in the case against Davis and a national movement to save his life. Davis is now set to be executed by lethal injection on Wednesday.
“I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice,” said Brian Kammer, one of Davis’ attorneys, on Tuesday after the decision was announced.
Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the 1989 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer. But his conviction was based largely on eyewitness testimony, and seven out of the nine eyewitnesses have either recanted or contradicted their trial testimony. The only physical evidence the state provided has now been discredited and withdrawn, and new witnesses have come forward identifying the shooter as another man – Sylvester “Redd” Coles, the same person who first implicated Davis.
The Parole Board had denied clemency for Davis before but since then there have three-replacements on the five member board.
At least 60 protesters demonstrated outside the building on Monday morning and 633,000 petitions asking the Georgia Parole board to stop Davis’ execution were delivered on Friday.
The list of people asking that the Georgia parole board offer clemency included Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 51 members of Congress and death penalty supporters including William S. Sessions. Recently, Troy Davis’ sister Kimberly Davis spoke to Democracy Now about the ongoing effort to save her brother’s life. “We’re not only fighting for justice for Troy; we’re fighting for the Troy Davises that came before him, for the Troy Davises that are going to come after him. The fight for Troy Davis has brought a whole new family to us…all over the world.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution noted that Davis has exhausted his appeals, and that this last effort before the parole board is likely his last chance to be spared execution.
Amnesty International’s petition calling on Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Chisolm to grant Davis clemency is still collecting signatures. According to them, the Board and D.A. Larry Chisolm have until Troy’s scheduled execution to reverse the decision.