Thousands of people who believe the state of Georgia is about to execute an innocent man are rallying behind the high-profile death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of an off-duty Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail, but has always maintained his innocence.
His case has become a focal point for anti-death penalty activists in the United States and abroad, attracting supporters such as Pope Benedict XVI, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. The Georgia Superior Court has scheduled Davis’s execution for next Wednesday, Sept. 21. Seven of the nine non-police witnesses who implicated Davis have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence that ties him to the crime scene.
With his legal appeals exhausted, the fate of Troy Davis rests largely in the hands of Georgia’s Board of Pardons and Parole, which could commute his death sentence and spare his life. Yesterday, supporters delivered a petition containing more than half a million signatures to a state parole board in support of clemency for Davis. We speak with Benjamin Jealous, president and CEO of NAACP, a leading organization in the campaign to stop Davis’s execution. “It’s been activism that has kept Troy alive to this point,” Jealous says.
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