9/15: Should Troy Davis be executed?

Moderated by Rick Badie

Troy Davis, convicted of killing a Savannah cop, faces execution in six days. His death sentence has been halted three times. Prominent leaders — from Nobel Prize laureates Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter to Congressmen John Lewis and Hank Johnson — have rallied to his defense. Some say justice in this case has been denied; others say it’s being served. Today, we present two views.

William S. Sessions, former director of the FBI, a former federal judge and federal prosecutor, argues that he should not because questions about his guilt continue to plague his conviction.

But Spencer Lawton, former district attorney for Georgia’s Eastern Judicial Circuit, prosecuted the Davis case in 1991, has written that Davis advocates’ claims on evidence, recanted testimony are not true.

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49 comments Add your comment


September 15th, 2011
7:50 am

I think the question Georgia needs to ask itself is how can we streamline this process to make it faster and cheaper to put these criminals to death? If you are going to kill someoen, be prepared to face the same punishment. If the guy was found guilty, then let’s get on with the process so we can deal with the next case.


September 15th, 2011
7:59 am

Right on Laurie – well said!


September 15th, 2011
8:12 am

No, Mr. Davis has not be found guilty in a court of law that was legal. He have said he did not do the killing of that officer again and again; those who said he did, admitted they lied by police putting them under extreame preassure; and the real killer came forth. Killing him make no sense and both families should want to truth and not be sway by the death of this officer so that another man’s life can be taken. If anyone out there, even the investigating police officer(s) found any real truth about this case; they should step forth and say, we have not proven he did it; and there was not gun shot power found on his hands or any way possible he did the killing. Merely words and no facts. I tell everybody this, Savannah has a long history of injustice; even in this case; if they execute Mr. Davis, those responsible will not ever rest again because Mr. Davis death and spirits will forever linger upon their hearts. Proof is what everyone is looking for; and then, justice will be serve for the officer and for both families.


September 15th, 2011
8:14 am

No way, they should give him a house he can’t afford, a no show job at the airport, and claim him impoverished so he can get food stamps, the perfect democrat voter for life..


September 15th, 2011
8:30 am

I used to support the death penalty, I no longer do. With recent advances in DNA identification countless individuals have been exonerated of the crimes for which they were convicted. Wasting away in jail for a crime you did not commit is a tragedy by itself. Executing an innocent person would be even worse.


September 15th, 2011
8:57 am

Absolutely,he was found guilty, his appeals were rejected,and he needs to receive his punishment and be held accountable for his actions. Witnesses recanting their testimonies is not a reasonable defense as they have tried to do.Uphold the statement ” I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, so help me GOD”. If taxpayers knew the cost of this entire case they would be very upset I may add.

The Anti-Wooten

September 15th, 2011
9:00 am

Whether someone agrees with the use of capital punishment or not it seems to me that in a situation where there is substantial doubt about the guilt of a person that we should all question the possibility that an innocent person may be executed. If it is later shown that the state was wrong it undermines the use of that punishment and the judicial system.


September 15th, 2011
9:22 am

During our deliberations for a murder trial, one of the first statements I heard was that the defendant should have been eligible for the DP. I certainly agreed.

Even though nobody actually witnessed the horrific murder there was No Reasonable Doubt that the defendant was guilty.

It’s easy to recant testimony when trying to lay blame on a dead guy. (Anyone who isn’t aware that is what has happened in this case hasn’t done their due diligence.)

I would sleep easy knowing I sent this man to meet his maker.


September 15th, 2011
9:24 am

Wow Earthquake, please check your racism at the door, if you have proof of innocence please share..

Inman Park Boy

September 15th, 2011
9:26 am

It’s the same old song: I DIDN’T DO IT!!! That’s why we have juries and courts of appeal.

John Q. Public

September 15th, 2011
9:28 am

Of course he should be executed, if for no other reason to add to the mounting pile of evidence to suggest that capital punishment is unconstitutional, unfairly administered, and perhaps the most flawed and pointless component in a profoundly flawed, corrupt, inhuman commercial enterpise we the people call jurisprudence. Maybe Davis did the crime and maybe he didn’t. Justice doesn’t sweat the little things (details). Perhaps the State needs to grant clemency to Davis, locate the many witnesses who now claim they perjured themselves and gave false testimony during the original trial, AND execute them. murder a capital crime? we kill each other all the time. we need to make perjury a capital crime.

A Cops Son

September 15th, 2011
9:35 am

Mr. Davis was found guilty and should have been executed years ago. He has lived many more years than the person he murdered.. Mr. davis is alive and his victim is rotting in his grave. The officers family was devastated and mr. davis is still alive. His appeals have been denied and the worms have eaten his victims flesh. Soimething is very wrong.


September 15th, 2011
9:57 am

B/c of all the witness coming forth and saying they lied and whatnot I don’t think he should be executed at all. The “beyond a shadow of a doubt” isn’t there anymore.

What's Important

September 15th, 2011
10:41 am

TO PEADOG, the test has never been “beyond a shadow of a doubt” it is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. If you are going to cite something, cite it correctly.

Zap Rowsdower

September 15th, 2011
12:06 pm

Is OJ still innocent?


September 15th, 2011
12:15 pm

No one in jail is guilty of anything. Everybody knows that.


September 15th, 2011
12:20 pm

I think Davis case has too much information that is not noted in the case files. I listened to both sides and it seems as justice is right and this gentlemen is not guilt of the charges. I feel for the victim’s family but why put forth the death penalty if Troy is not guilty. It seems as if he has already been given the punishment, because he has been away for many years and it will be hard for him to adjust to society when he is released. This is all that he knows and many prisoners cannot function on the outside and find themselves back behind bars. I pray strength for both families.


September 15th, 2011
12:26 pm

Eddie Q, all that hate WILL kill you, mellow out, take a chill pill, we are not all haters like you..


September 15th, 2011
12:28 pm

@A Cops Son – Just because he is thought to have killed a cop does not mean that he should die. As I understand the case – the murder weapon has NEVER been found, there is NO physical evidence or DNA linking Davis and 78% (7 of 9) of the eye witnesses have recanted their story. Killing Davis is NOT going to bring back the dead cop and if the cops and the family REALLY cared, they would want the real person who killed their loved on and not just anyone. There have been so many times where someone has been freed after spending years in prison for a crime that they did not commit. If the state really cared, the state would look at the evidence and the lack of evidence linked to Mr. Davis and retry the case. What good does it do to kill Mr. Davis if the real killer is still walking around. Georgia needs to do the right thing and not the easy thing of killing Mr. Davis.

Logic 05

September 15th, 2011
12:29 pm

Did any of you stop to think about why these witnesses changed their story? Most of the witnesses are poor inter-city African-Americans. Did you ever stop to ask if these people were threaten in order to get each to change their story. Again, these witnesses are poor..they are not going to be moving…they had to change their story or else. Their families were also threaten in order to get these people to change their story.


September 15th, 2011
12:32 pm

Great to see all of the experts on here telling us why he should not be executed. However, the jury that heard all the facts and the courts that heard all of the appeals think differently. Gee…I wonder why.


September 15th, 2011
2:20 pm

“9/15: Should Troy Davis be executed?”

Yes. He is a convicted murderer.


September 15th, 2011
2:44 pm

Beating a homeless person is enough to give him the death penalty.


September 15th, 2011
3:06 pm


September 15th, 2011
3:16 pm

Regardless if he is killed or not, it makes me sick whenever they take it to the extreme whenever a cop is killed in the line of duty. Let a cop kill an innocent person, and that is ok, but kill a cop? Death Penalty. Its just not fair.

Michael Marr

September 15th, 2011
4:57 pm

Wally’s right. Just ask who is for the death penalty and leave it at that. Pro death people want the death penalty regardless of innocence once the jury has spoken. Two parallel and competing ideas in criminal law are “It ain’t over,” and “It is what it is.”


September 15th, 2011
5:38 pm

Even the original blog comments here color the story in Troy Davis’ favor. What in fact happened was that Bob Barr, William Sessions, and other asked and received a SCOTUS order that an independent judicial inquiry be conducted into the matter of Mr. Davis’ proclaimed innocence. The District Court Judge listened for two days as witnesses called by Mr. Davis’ own defense attorneys spun their story. In the end, the Judge decided the innocence claims were based on, in his words, “smoke and mirrors.”

Mr. Davis, as is the case with long-term prisoners, has become a convincing con man. The con will be over next Wednesday. Maybe….just maybe….he will have the guts to man up and accept responsibility for his actions before he meets his God. But I wouldn’t count on it.


September 15th, 2011
5:54 pm

“I swear to tell the truth,the whole truth,so help me God”.If you are one of the ones who recanted their testimony since the trial of Troy Davis took place then you have noone but yourself to blame for his planned execution.What part of that sworn in process did you not understand? Admitting you lied should be justification for prison time.Your actions have caused a death, way to go.


September 15th, 2011
6:01 pm

@ LLM–I don’t think you have read the case at all. There were a pair of shorts found at his mother’s residence the morning after the crime. The shorts had DNA on them but a Judge ruled that Davis’ mother did not give voluntary consent to search the residence. That is some BS, she just changed her story and said what the lawyers probably told her to say during the Jackson Denno hearing. He also shot Michael Cooper at a party prior to killing Ofc. Macphail. Cooper went to his probation officer, told him about the shooting and asked to be arrested because he feared Davis was going to kill him too. The ones that are changing their stories are the hoodrats and the jail house informants, not the witnesses that did not know Davis and were independant. Get your facts straight!


September 15th, 2011
6:04 pm

Since 1973, over 130 people have been released from death rows throughout the country due to evidence of their wrongful convictions. In 2003 alone, 10 wrongfully convicted defendants were released from death row.
Over 100 were overturned based upon post-conviction evidence. According to their study of the first 70 cases reversed:
Over 30 of them involved prosecutorial misconduct.
Over 30 of them involved police misconduct which led to wrongful convictions.
Approximately 15 of them involved false witness testimony.
34% of the police misconduct cases involved suppression of exculpatory evidence. 11% involved evidence fabrication.
37% of the prosecutorial misconduct cases involved suppression of exculpatroy evidence. 25% involved knowing use of false testimony.

born again Atheist

September 15th, 2011
6:42 pm

Steve-O, You might want to go easy on the God stuff; since it doesn’t matter when he meets “his God” because if you believe in God, his God and your God are one in the same, and only God knows who killed that police office, and God forgives all who ask forgiveness.

Charles Felton

September 15th, 2011
9:34 pm

The dealth penalty is a farce. We have a death sentence not a death penalty. I retired from running jails and prisons with over 40 years experience and imprisonment is much harder on a person then execution. The thing that gets me about this case is people saying he did not do it and should not be executed but get life in prison. If he did not do it he should be released and sent home. Most people sentenced to death die in prison and are never executed. We have this ‘mean spirit’ that says we should kill them but we really do not want to do it. Davis should sentenced to life in prison and spend the rest of his life in a 65 square foot cell and think about the crime he has committed.


September 15th, 2011
10:01 pm

It has always been known that if folks can find a scapegoat they’ll use them. The lazy police and detectives in Savannah are too pitiful to do their jobs and blamed the first person they saw fit to punish. The lazy, hateful witnesses did the same thing (at first), but some found a conscience and recanted. Did the lazy Bozo’s listen? NO! Did the fathead republican Governor’s listen? NO! Some folks don’t care about having an innocent person’s blood on their hands. It’s a shame before God and they will pay one in one way or another. It’s just too bad this guy may lose his life over laziness and the murdered policeman’s (REAL) killer is still out there. We have a messed up, hateful society!


September 15th, 2011
10:24 pm

Oh Yeah, for all you HICKS who are still harping on the OJ trial STOP BEING STUPID! If any of you folks would have stopped a person of color on the street or in the elevator or in the workstation next to yours at work you would know that 90% or more blacks BELIEVE that OJ did it. The cheers were for the fact that, for once, the so called majorities saw injustice and felt what we’ve always felt when a white person got away with bombings, hangings, shootings, rapes, mass murders, etc. I always knew OJ would give himself away……….and he did. OJ is an arrogant dummy that deserves exactly what he got. Ask anybody! You people are such whiners and cry babies.


September 15th, 2011
10:27 pm

Let me get this right,,the Police and Detectives were lazy, the witnesses were lazy. Well I guess the Judge and Jury were lazy as well along with the appeals courts, and the Supreme Court? It reminds me of the OJ trial and I asked some black co-workers what would it take to convince you OJ did commit the murders? Their answer..”For him to say he did it” OMG,give me a break!I will not lose one second of sleep after Troy”COPKILLER” is executed. Good riddance.


September 16th, 2011
5:19 am

Justice Delayed is Justice Denied!


September 16th, 2011
6:15 am

since 1973…

the criminal predator terrorist class of the usa…

has executed without-due-process-of-law “aka murdered” more than 800,000 usa citizens…

over the same timeframe…

less than 800 convicted criminal predator terrorists have been executed “with due process of law” by the legally elected judical system of the usa…

this usa cultural critic wonders when will the…

lovers & defenders of the “vile, degenerate, deranged & diseeased’ criminal predator class…

demand of it…

that thugs give their intended victims 10/20/30 years of appeals before taking their lives



September 16th, 2011
7:13 am

Typical Liberal mental disconnect.”Murder the Innocents(Abortion)and Pardon the Murderers” Anti-Capital Punishment.


September 16th, 2011
7:53 am

Yes, and it is not even a close call. The headline “Witnesses Recant” is very misleading. The alleged recantations are bogus for reasons clearly spelled out in the various appellate decisions that are readily available. He did it.


September 16th, 2011
7:58 am

The comments made in reference Mr. Davis’s case is one of the serious one I have seen. The weapon is nowhere to be found or do anyone knows where it is. It is just like no body, no crime. Have we all torn this whole thing apart and looked at the real sources. 1. Because an officer lost his life trying to help someone and Mr. Davis was in the area; 2) did anyone actually see Mr. Davis pull the trigger and discard the weapon, was Mr. Davis hands tested to see if there were any gun-powder recharge on his hands and skin; and 3) this look like something from TV that anyone or somebody has to be charged with the murder. When you deal with an investigtion of people who have records and have been in trouble; they will say anything to get out of the police investigation or do anything to keep from going back to jail. What about the man who actually admitted to doing the murder and did he have that weapon or destroyed it. The bottom line is, families in the case on both sides needs to see justice served according to our justice-system and the federal laws that govern it; not because a state prosecutor son or friend want accuse and try someone for the death of this officer! There is somthing not surfacing here and if you kill this man for feelings or for the officer family sake…..his blood and memories will linger on all those responsible for years to come; and each of you will see his face for the rest of your lives. Let’s bring the real truth out; that is, those who are hiding it!


September 16th, 2011
8:25 am

Did a stray bullet come out of nowhere and kill this officer? Is anybody responsible for his death? I am not an expert on this case but I have followed all articles,some court transcripts,and many,many comments on this matter.Certainly more than most folks that are posting comments about Troys innocence. I can tell you that all the testimonies,reports,articles,trials,appeals I have read point to Troy Davis as the person responsible for the police officers death.You do not have to worry about putting the wrong man to death. HE is Guilty.He did in fact do it.I mean come on,Brian Nichols pleaded not guilty and he said he didn’t do it.What you think?


September 16th, 2011
8:25 am

Two things diminish this “Pro” execution argument. Spencer Lawton, who takes that side, prosecuted the case against Troy Davis. It’s hard to imagine he is going to admit he was wrong, or that he could be responsible for having an innocent man murdered by the State. He then resorts to pure emotions, not reason, when he closes his argument with a statement about the murdered police officer having been unarmed. No one is saying this wasn’t a horrible crime, but this has zero do to with the question at hand. It shows Lawton’s motive to have people react to this emotionally, not rationally.


September 16th, 2011
9:10 am

Dang, that means Rednecks are powerful people I guess? I guess it is a good thing those Savannah police did not tell them to jump off the Savannah bridge. LMAO p.s try decaf coffee


September 16th, 2011
9:24 am

YES – it should have happened LONG ago!


September 16th, 2011
9:51 am

The investigative officers at the time were determined to find someone to charge ASAP for the murder. They apparently coerced or intimidated any actual/potential witnesses to get them to tow the line or lie.
The first person to name Troy as the shooter was actually the person who committed the murder. The police officers who investigated the murder are guilty of gross misconduct. They couldn’t see the forest because the trees were in the way .

let's use some sense

September 16th, 2011
10:28 am

Anyone who has looked at this case and followed its development over the years realizes that there are still many unanswered questions, and no one but God knows what really happened in that Wendy’s parking lot in 1989.
While I am NOT against the death penalty, I believe we should be iron-clad certain about someone’s guilt when we use it. The “kill him now” crowd isn’t looking at the ramifications of executing a possibly innocent man – if we execute innocent people, the state (country, etc.) loses the trust we have in it to uphold one of the basic tenets of our Constitution: we are innocent until PROVEN guilty.
There is a lot of doubt in this case. Let’s be on the safe side and let him do life with no parole and don’t take the chance that we are engaging in a huge miscarriage of justice. In the long run, it’s the right thing to do.


September 16th, 2011
10:33 am

seabeau: “Typical Liberal mental disconnect.”Murder the Innocents(Abortion)and Pardon the Murderers” Anti-Capital Punishment.”

Typical Conservative mental disconnect. “All life is precious until we decide its not, and all freedom is good unless its for someone we don’t like.”


September 16th, 2011
12:30 pm

GB, they probably only exert their moderating control when someone reports the comment, so if you don’t, it will probably be left as is because they will never see it. A true test would be to evaluate the responses after submitting posts which are both then subsequently reported.


September 16th, 2011
12:55 pm

Iggy: I did report the comments. Both of them. And I know the moderator has been active, as one of the two, the vulgar one, was removed. The one with the ethnic slur is still there.