Troy Davis Executed in Georgia Despite Substantial Evidence Pointing to Innocence
Contact: Paul Cates, 212/364-5346, cell 917/566-1294, firstname.lastname@example.org
(ATLANTA, GA; September 21, 2011) Tonight at 11:08 p.m. the State of Georgia executed Troy Davis for a 1989 murder that he always maintained he didn’t commit after what has been reported as a 3 to 2 vote by the board of pardons and paroles rejected his clemency bid. Since his original trial, substantial evidence has come to light pointing to Davis’ innocence. The Georgia Bureau of Investigations has conceded that the ballistics evidence used against Davis was unreliable, and one of the Jurors who sat on the case said that if she had known about that she would not have voted to give Davis the death penalty. Seven of the nine witnesses who identified him as the shooter have recanted their testimony. One of the two witnesses who maintain that Davis was the shooter is thought by many to be the real perpetrator and has made admissions to others that he committed the crime. The other remaining eyewitness had been up for twenty-four hours straight at the time he observed the shooting and reported on the night of the crime that he “wouldn’t recognize [the shooter] again.” Yet two years later, this witness identified Troy Davis in an in-court identification that required him to simply identify the only African-American sitting at the defense table. Misidentification was a factor in 75% of the 273 DNA exonerations. In 38% of these mistaken identification cases, multiple eyewitnesses misidentified the same person.
The following quote can be attributed to Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.
“Today is a tragic day in our nation’s history. Troy Davis was executed in spite of serious doubt about his guilt. The state clemency system in Georgia and in many other states is not functioning as an effective safety valve in cases where there is serious doubt about guilt. Any objective fair minded observer would have to conclude the risk of executing an innocent person in the U.S. is unacceptably high.”