Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens offers the following information in the case against Troy Anthony Davis, who is currently scheduled to be executed on September 21, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.
On September 6, 2011, the
At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, 1989, officers of the Savannah Police Department responded to a call of “an officer down” at the Greyhound bus station. (T. 759). Officers found Mark MacPhail, a 27 year-old
Larry Young, who was present at the scene, told police that between midnight and 1:00 a.m. he had walked from the Burger King parking lot to the convenience store down the block to purchase beer. (T. 797-798). Sylvester “Red” Coles saw Young leave the pool hall next door and began following Young demanding a beer. (T. 798). Coles continued to harass Mr. Young all the way back to the Burger King. (T. 799). When Young arrived at the parking lot, Harriet Murray was sitting on a low wall by the restaurant. Davis and Daryl Collins, who had taken a shortcut to the parking lot, came out from behind the bank and surrounded Mr. Young. (T. 799). Mr. Coles, who was facing Mr. Young, told him not to walk away “cause you don’t know me, I’ll shoot you,” and began digging in his pants. (T. 845). Ms. Murray ran to the back door of the Burger King, which was locked. (T. 799). Davis, who was behind Young and to his right, blind-sided him, striking him on the side of the face with a snub-nosed pistol, inflicting a severe head injury. Mr. Young began to bleed profusely, and he stumbled to a van parked in front of the Burger King drive-in window, asking the occupants for help. (T. 803). When the driver did not respond, he went to the drive-in window, but the manager shut it in his face. (T. 803, 915).
In response to the disturbance in the parking lot, Officer MacPhail, who was working as a security guard at the restaurant, walked rapidly from behind the bus station, with his nightstick in his hand and ordered the three men to halt. (T. 849). Mr. Collins and Davis fled, and Officer MacPhail ran past Sylvester Coles in pursuit of
Davis fled to Atlanta the following day and surrendered to authorities on August 23, 1989.
Pursuant to an investigation, police learned that on the night of the killing, Davis had attended a party on Cloverdale Drive in a subdivision near Savannah. (T. 1115-1116). During the party,
Shortly after Michael Cooper was shot, Eric Ellison and D.D. Collins picked up Davis in Cloverdale and took him to Brown’s Pool Hall in Savannah. Red Coles, wearing a yellow t-shirt, was already at the pool hall.
A ballistics expert testified that the bullet recovered from MacPhail’s body was of the same type and was possibly fired from the same weapon as used in the Cooper shooting. (T. 1292). Four .38 special casings recovered at Cloverdale, where Michael Cooper was wounded, were fired from the same gun as casings found at the scene of Officer MacPhail’s murder. (T. 1292).
At trial, Kevin McQueen, who was at the Chatham City Jail with Davis, testified that Davis told him there had been a party in Cloverdale on the night of the victim’s murder; Davis had argued with some men and there was an exchange of gunfire. (T. 1230-1231). Davis told McQueen he did some of the shooting. (T. 1231). After the party,
Jeffrey Lapp testified that
Red Coles identified
The Trial (1989-1991)
State Habeas Corpus Petition (1994-2001)
On September 9, 1997, the state habeas corpus court denied
Federal Habeas Corpus Petition (2001-2004)
11th Circuit Court of Appeals (2004-2006)
The case was orally argued before the Eleventh Circuit on September 7, 2005. On September 26, 2006, the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion which affirmed the denial of federal habeas corpus relief to
Original Execution Date Set (July 17, 2007)
On June 29, 2007, Chief Judge Perry Brannen, Jr. of the
On appeal, the Georgia Supreme Court extensively reviewed each category of “affidavit testimony” on which Petitioner’s extraordinary motion relied, including: “recantations by trial witnesses,” “statements recounting alleged admissions of guilt by Coles,” “statements that Coles disposed of a handgun following the murder” and “alleged eyewitness accounts.”
New Execution Date Set (September 23, 2008)
A new execution date was set for Troy Anthony Davis for September 23, 2008. On September 12, 2008, the Board of Pardons and Paroles denied commutation of death sentence and issued the following statement:
The Parole Board does not generally comment on death penalty cases it has considered for clemency. However, the Troy Davis case has received such extensive publicity that the Board has decided to make an exception.
Because of these claims, the Parole Board stopped
As a part of its proceedings, the Board gave
In addition, the Board has studied the voluminous trial transcript, the police investigation report and the initial statements of the witnesses. The Board has also had certain physical evidence retested and
After an exhaustive review of all available information regarding the Troy Davis case and after considering all possible reasons for granting clemency, the Board has determined that clemency is not warranted.
On September 23, 2008, the United States Supreme Court entered an order staying the execution pending disposition of
New Execution Date Set (October 27, 2008)
An new execution date was set for October 27, 2008.
On October 22, 2008,
In short, we are constrained by the statutory requirements found in § 2244(b)(2)(B) to conclude that Davis has not even come close to making a prima facie showing that his Herrera claim relies on (i) facts that could not have been discovered previously through the exercise of due diligence, and that (ii), if proven, would “establish by clear and convincing evidence that, but for constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder would have found the applicant guilty of the underlying offense.” 28 U.S.C. § 2244(b)(2)(B) (2006). He, therefore, cannot file a successive petition.
Following briefing and discovery, a federal evidentiary hearing was conducted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Savannah Division, on June 23-24, 2010. On August 24, 2010, the United States District Court entered an order denying
Ultimately, while Mr. Davis's new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors. The vast majority of the evidence at trial remains intact, and the new evidence is largely not credible or lacking in probative value. After careful consideration, the Court finds that Mr. Davis has failed to make a showing of actual innocence that would entitle him to habeas relief in federal court.
References to the transcript of