In less than two hours, Troy Davis is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection.
In less than one-half hour, Lawrence Brewer, the man convicted of murdering James Byrd, will also be put to death by lethal injection.
In the case of Davis, he has maintained his innocence for over 20 years. Just today he asked to be given a polygraph to prove his innocence. He was convicted on the testimony of so-called eye witnesses. Seven of those nine eyewitnesses have recanted their stories.
In the case of Brewer, news reports said today that he boasted that he “would do it again.”
Davis was convicted of killing a police officer. Brewer murdered Byrd by beating him and then dragging him along a Texas road, even as the man was still alive. When it was all said and done, the dragging resulted in Byrd being decapitated and losing an arm.
I don’t like the death penalty. I am not rejoicing that Brewer will be put to death. But I am especially sickened that prosecutors, judges, and courts have refused to give Davis a fair chance. It is beyond me that any state could execute a man when so much doubt about his guilt exists.
In the case of Brewer, there is no such doubt, and that, coupled with Brewer’s apparent pride in what he did leaves little doubt of his guilt.
But in the case of Davis, there is a huge difference. There was no DNA evidence, no physical evidence, according to reports. Troy has never said he committed the crime, in spite of the real probability that he was pressured to do so in order to get a lighter sentence.
And then – these seven of nine eyewitnesses recanted their testimonies. There was a woman on television today who said there was a man who told her he actually did the killing but is content to let Troy Davis take the rap because he, the free man, “has kids to raise.”
Doesn’t the state of Georgia have a moral right to investigate such a possibility? If the American justice system is about justice, then isn’t it a responsibility for those who are in charge of securing justice …secure justice?
This whole debacle has shaken what little faith I had in the American justice system. The state of Georgia, the courts, the prosecutors – all of those who have lent closed hearts, minds, and ears to the possibility of an innocent man being murdered for a murder he most likely did not commit – should be ashamed.
I am ashamed.
How can we even shape our mouths to say we are going to fight for justice for people in other countries, when we seemingly do not care about providing justice for our own?
It boggles my mind and sickens me in my spirit.
What is about to happen to Troy Davis is wrong.
That is a candid – and painful – observation.