Despite all of the petitions signed, expressions of doubt and words of support spoken, the Georgia Board Of Pardons And Paroles has denied the request to free Troy Davis after hearing both his and his alleged victim’s families pleas.
“I am utterly shocked and disappointed at the failure of our justice system at all levels to correct a miscarriage of justice,” Brian Kammer, one of Davis’ attorneys, said Tuesday after the decision was announced.
Davis’ case has already taken more unexpected turns than just about any death-penalty case in Georgia history and his innocence claims have attracted international attention. Its resolution was postponed once again when the parole board late Monday announced it would not be making an immediate decision as to whether Davis should live or die.
Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson. He was sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
On Monday, Davis’ lawyers said they believed they’d made their case that there is too much doubt in the case. But members of MacPhail’s family expressed confidence the board would deny clemency.
After Davis’ lawyers made their three-hour presentation, attorney Stephen Marsh emerged from the hearing and said, “We believe we have established substantial doubt in this case.”
Davis’ nephew, DeJaun Davis-Correia, pleaded for mercy from the board, Davis’ lawyers said.
Late Monday, Davis’ sister, Martina Correia, said her family is glad the parole board is taking its time.
“I know they have a lot to consider,” she said. “We’re just praying for a good outcome.”
As for her brother’s execution date being set on repeated occasions, “It’s been like reliving a nightmare over and over. … But we believe in our brother’s innocence.”
The surviving relatives of the slain officer presented a decidedly different front. They resolutely told the news media they believe Davis is a cop killer who deserves to die for what he did.
“He’s guilty,” MacPhail’s widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said. “We need to go ahead and execute him.”
MacPhail-Harris expressed confidence the board would deny clemency. “What a travesty it would be if they don’t uphold the death sentence. … It’s time for justice today. My family needs justice. He was taken from us too soon, too early.”
As for the case presented by Davis’ legal team that Davis was wrongly convicted, she said, “It’s been a lie.”
MacPhail-Harris was flanked by her 23-year-old daughter, Madison MacPhail, and 22-year-old son, Mark MacPhail Jr., who were a toddler and an infant when their father was killed.
“A future was taken from me,” said Madison MacPhail, unable to hold back tears. “The death penalty is the correct form of justice. … Troy Davis murdered my father, no questions asked.”
The officer’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said the family “has been through hell without Mark. He did his duty. He loved his country.”
When asked about the possibility of Davis being granted clemency, she said, “I don’t even want to think about it. Please.”
Officer MacPhail, a 27-year-old former Army Ranger, was moonlighting on a security detail when he ran to help a homeless man, who had cried out because he was being pistol whipped. MacPhail was shot three times before he could draw his handgun.
The parole board has the sole authority in Georgia to grant or deny clemency. Three years ago, the board denied clemency to Davis but it has three new members since that decision. Davis’ lawyers say there is also new evidence that indicates another man at the scene was the actual trigger man.