Troy Davis Hearing Concludes

A federal judge must now decide if the new evidence presented in hearings last week in the case of Troy Davis is enough to spare Davis from the death penalty.  Of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis at his original trial for the murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, seven have recanted their testimony.  One of those nine includes, Sylvester “Redd” Coles who some witnesses now say told them that he was actually the shooter. 

Davis attorney, Jason Ewart, told Judge William T. Moore that Davis would not be convicted today by any reasonable juror who heard the new evidence presented last week.  That evidence includes the recantations of four prosecution witnesses who earlier testified that they either saw Davis kill MacPhail or that Davis told them he did it.  Those witnesses now say they were threatened and coerced into giving false testimony.  Ewart also expressed confidence in Benjamin Gordon, a relative of Coles’, who testified for the first time on Wednesday that he witnessed Coles gun down MacPhail.

Earlier  last Thursday, however, Judge Moore ruled out testimony from a  number of witnesses who were going to say that Sylvester “Redd” Coles told them he, not Davis, shot and killed MacPhail.  Since the defense did not choose to call Coles to testify, the Judge said that such testimony amounted to hearsay.  “Here’s one of the most critical witnesses to Davis’ defense,” Moore said. “Mr. Coles is available to testify and you don’t call him. Mr. Coles should have been called by you.”  

Judge Moore  instructed the attorneys to file legal briefs by July 7 and said he would rule as promptly as possible.

Read the full story here.

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