Tomorrow, September 21, marks two years since Troy Anthony Davis was executed. Looking back at his case, it is truly stunning, though not all that surprising, that the State of Georgia could proceed with an execution when there was so much doubt. There was no physical evidence linking Troy to the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, seven of the nine state’s non-police witnesses had recanted their testimony, and nine individuals signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles, one of the other witnesses who testified against Troy, as the real killer. Troy’s case drew world-wide concern and garnered one million petition signers calling for his life to be spared. Despite all of this, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Supreme Court refused to intervene.
Photographer Scott Langley was in Jackson, GA during the final days of action around the case, and he documented the last hours of Troy’s life as he stood with Troy’s family and supporters outside of the prison that night. He has recently released these previously unseen photos that he took in the 24 hours leading up to Troy’s death. A new book called I Am Troy Davis, coauthored by Jen Marlowe and Troy’s sister, Martina Davis-Correia, includes a foreword by Sister Helen Prejean and provides an intimate look at Troy and the movement that tried to save his life. Our partners at Equal Justice USA authored this study guide to accompany the book. Check them out!
Troy once said, “The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me.” Indeed, the struggle continues and we are making progress toward achieving Troy’s dream of a country and world without the death penalty. This May, Maryland became the sixth state in six years to abolish the death penalty and several more states are poised to end capital punishment in the coming years. Around the country and here in Tennessee, citizens and leaders from various backgrounds and of all political stripes are growing more concerned about this broken death penalty system, and TADP continues to educate audiences about the need for repeal.
You can help honor the memory of Troy Davis by speaking out against the death penalty and getting involved. You can talk with friends and family, host a speaker at your church or civic group, write a letter to the editor, express your concerns with your state legislators, and/or join or form a TADP chapter in your area. Please contact us to learn more.
(Photo of Troy Davis by The Savannah Morning News/AP via ABC News)
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