The Curious Case Of Troy Davis

Learn How You Can Help The Cause

Troy Davis is fighting for his life after being convicted of a crime, he denies committing to this day. Currently incarcerated on Georgia’s death row – this is the fourth time he has tried to get a stay on his execution.

The problem with death row is that sometimes people are put to death, without strict evidence that they committed the crime.

In America’s judicial system you must prove a person’s guilt – beyond a reasonable doubt. That hasn’t happened in the case of Troy Davis.

Case Background

In the early morning hours of August 19, 1989, several people including Troy Davis and Sylvester “Redd” Coles were hanging out near a Burger King parking lot adjoined to a Greyhound bus station in Savannah, Georgia.  Coles started arguing with a homeless man named Larry Young, demanding that Young give him a beer.  As Young walked away, he was pistol-whipped in the head.  Police officer Mark MacPhail, serving off-duty as a security guard at the bus station, responded to a call for help.  As he came running to Young’s aid he was shot and killed by the same man who had attacked Young.  The day after the shooting, Coles went to the police station with his lawyer and said that Troy Davis was the shooter. 

In its public order granting a stay of execution to Troy Davis in 2007, the Board of Pardons and Paroles set out a standard for clemency: “[The Board] will not allow an execution to proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused.”

The parole board was expected to issue a decision later Monday in what is widely seen as the last chance for Davis, who is set to be executed Wednesday for the 1989 shooting death of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia.

Davis supporters say close to one million people worldwide have signed petitions calling for clemency, with petitions last week delivered to state authorities containing about 650,000 signatures.

Some 300 rallies, vigils and events have occurred worldwide, including New York, Washington, Peru, Paris and Oslo, among others, and nearly 200,000 of the signatures have been collected in the last 72 hours alone.

“This case is extraordinary because there have been substantial questions of his innocence for almost a decade,” death penalty lawyer and Yale law professor Stephen Bright told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Among those calling for clemency are former US president Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI and US actress Susan Sarandon. His cause is also supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Amnesty International and many other organizations.

If we can’t get enough support this brother will die by lethal injection on Wednesday.

Visit the NAACP’s page dedicated to Troy Davis to learn more about the case and what you can do to help.


Update- The parole board has rejected Troy Davis’ plea for clemency despite mounting evidence that puts doubt about his role in the murder.

“In moments of immense sadness, moments that shake the foundation of our faith in the justice system and in mankind, there are often no words that can adequately express one’s grief and outrage,”  “Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence, the execution will proceed and Troy Davis will live his last day on September 21,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.

Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson

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