Troy Davis was murdered on Wednesday, September 21, and the people who killed him are well known. But they will not be punished!
The killers justify their action by saying that Davis was convicted of killing a police officer in 1989, when he was 21 years old. There were 9 witnesses against him, but since the original trial 7 of the 9 witnesses recanted their testimony, many saying that they were pressured into making their statements by police—and one of the remaining witnesses would be the main suspect for the actual killing!
At a minimum, there was serious and well-substantiated reason to question his conviction. Despite the strong evidence of his innocence, the Georgia Board of Pardons & Parole voted to execute him. Governor Nathan Deal refused to grant clemency. And the courts refused to intervene this time around.
So Troy Davis was executed just after 11 pm Wednesday. Even those who believe in the death penalty would have to agree that executing an innocent man is always wrong. And whenever the system convicts the wrong person, it’s a double injustice: not only is an innocent man punished unjustly, the real killer goes free! (Which is just what happened when Ray Krone was convicted of murder and sentenced to death—see Julia Ward’s blog post following his talk at Lafayette.)
In a recent letter to the editor, local resident Maria Weick, a member of the Lehigh Valley Committee Against State Killing wrote:
The problem with the death penalty is not that killers dodge it or that “liberals” are trying to protect killers. The fundamental problem with the death penalty is that murder is wrong no matter who commits it—a citizen or the state itself. Nearly 140 nations in the world have adopted this standard either in practice or by law. The more heinous the crime, the more important it is that government model the law-and-order behavior it requires of its citizens. No crime is so terrible that it justifies copying the behavior of the criminal. Anything less than that standard is vengeance, not justice.
More information about the death penalty:
It’s not just a problem with the system in Georgia. The system here is full of errors and official misconduct. Pennsylvania’s system has a strong bias against minorities—even the Pennsylvania Supreme Court found evidence of this, as did the American Bar Association. Put simply: a person who is black is much more likely to be sentenced to death than a person who is white, even when the crimes are comparable. And it’s a known fact that police and prosecutors right here in Lehigh County conspired to conceal evidence and convict Dennis Counterman of murder even when the evidence showed he was innocent.
- Death Penalty Information Center
- Amnesty International USA
- National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
- Pennsylvanians United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
NOTE: Panel discussion on the Troy Davis – Thursday, October 6, 2011.