The Life and Death of Troy Davis

Posted on September 23, 2011



There is worldwide controversy spreading over the murder case of Troy Davis. On Wednesday night at 11:08pm Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection, even amid the public outcry and questions surrounding the case.

Troy Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Mark MacPhail, a police officer from Savannah, Georgia. MacPhail’s death was a tragedy, and some believe the tragedy deepened when an innocent man was wrongly accused.

The murder took place on August 19, 1989. MacPhail was working a beat near a Burger King when he noticed a homeless man being pistol whipped in a nearby parking lot and ran to defend him. MacPhail was shot in the chest and face and died at the scene. Witnesses later ID’d Troy Davis as the shooter and police arrested him.

There was no physical evidence, only eyewitness accounts. Of the 9 people who testified against Davis, 7 would later recant and allege they were coerced by police and threatened with jail time.

Davis’s trial was held in 1991, and he was convicted and sentenced to death. Davis maintained his innocence for 20 years, even with his last words, “I am innocent. The incident that happened that night was not my fault. I personally did not have a gun. I was not the one who took the life of your father, son, brother. For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.”

The death of a man, at the hands of the state, who maintained his innocence and seemed to have a legitimate claim angered and saddened a lot of people. It renewed old questions about the death penalty, fair trials, racial bias, socioeconomic bias, and the judicial system of the United States.

Former President Jimmy Carter wrote, “If our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated. We hope this tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment.”

“I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight,” Davis said in his final words.

(Feature Image Courtesy of AP)

Posted in: National