So, Troy Davis was executed in Georgia tonight. Actually, two people were executed. Lawrence Brewer, a KKK-affiliated white supremacist was executed in Texas for the lynching of James Byrd in 1998. Brewer’s case makes it really hard to be against the death penalty in all cases He was a white supremacist who made sport out of killing a disabled black man. He was reportedly unrepentent, claiming that he’d do it again. The only reason for me to be against Brewer’s execution is my blanket opposition to capital punishment.
Before I move on, Byrd’s family was reported to have been against Brewer’s execution.
Davis’s case should give pause to any of us who are interested in justice. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail. Here’s the problem. No murder weapon was found. No DNA evidence linked him to the murder. He was convicted, largely, on the eyewitness testimony of nine individuals, seven of whom later recanted or changed their testimony. Several claimed police coercion, and another suspect was identified, one of the nine who testified against Davis.
This should have been a slam dunk for a new trial, yet various avenues of appeal were denied. At one point the US Supreme court did send the case back with the instruction that Davis had to prove his innocence. That should concern us all, as it turns the Constitutional presumption of innocence on its head.
We should all be ashamed that this has been allowed to happen.