As the day drew to a close on 21 September 2011 in Blighty, so the fate of the latest Georgian prisoner was hanging in the lethal balance.
Troy Davis, a condemned man, waS waiting to find out if he’d be in line for a lethal injection at 7pm American standard time. A last-minute stay was granted, but good news was short-lived. Davis was executed at 11:08pm Georgian standard time, for a crime he may not have committed.
He was sent down for killing a homeless man and a police officer in the ’80s. But evidence was circumstantial, with no available murder weapon.
Since the damning trial, seven of the nine who testified originally have since recanted all or part of their accounts, claiming the police coerced them. Indeed, one of the nine witnesses was Sylvester ‘Redd’ Coles, who is widely believed to be the actual perpertrator.
As the case against Davis deteriorated so there was a short-lived sliver of hope. But Georgia’s damning laws preventing appeals meant Davis rights were curbed, prompting ‘Time’ magazine to speculate if Georgia would ‘kill an innocent man’. Questions like this drew support for his plight worldwide.
Social networks went into overdrive, with Amnesty publishing the Judge’s phone number to apply pressure on Twitter. While British comedian Bill Bailey passed comment by retweeting the Guardian’s ’10 reasons not to execute’.
But all to no avail. Davis’s death warrant was signed and he was lined up to get a lethal dose of killer narcotics aged just 42.
While for Policeman McPhail’s family, someone had been brought to justice for the murder of their loved one, according to US Guardian reporter, Ed Pilkington, Davis’s poignant last words had a clear message of innocence. “I was not the one who did it. I did not have a gun. Look deeper to find the truth”.