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  • Kathryn Patterson

My Opinion on the Troy Davis Execution

On Wednesday, September 21, 2011, at 11:08pm, the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis. It was a mistake. A heinous murder occurred in 1989 when Officer Mark MacPhail died. I am not arguing that fact. The family and our society want justice for that murder. So do I. But killing a man based on circumstantial evidence does not undo the crime, nor does it serve justice.  The jury did not have a murder weapon.  There was no DNA evidence to support anyone as the murderer.  There were no video footage, no fingerprints, no hair follicles, no blood - nothing that solidly identified Troy Davis as the murderer.

And yet, he died for this crime.

Nine people came forward to testify against Troy Davis. Seven of the nine recanted their statements, claiming the police coerced them into their testimony. So why did Troy Davis remain in prison?

In 2010, the Supreme Court asked the state of Georgia to review the case and see if there was enough evidence to reopen the case.  I think they asked the wrong question. Instead of asking if there was enough evidence to find him innocent, they should have asked, "Do we still have enough evidence to find this man guilty?" With so many witnesses coming forward to recant their testimony, would the state of Georgia win the case today?  

If Troy Davis did kill the Officer MacPhail, then justice was served.  If someone else killed Officer MacPhail, then the state of Georgia just killed an innocent man.  Contrary to popular belief, I am not convinced that Troy Davis killed Officer Mark MacPhail. I believe that the truth will never be revealed, and that justice will never be served.

Thomas Jefferson once said he’d rather see a hundred guilty men go free than an innocent man go to prison.  What do you think he would say now?

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