More than 50 supporters of Davis gathered at the First Iconium Baptist Church here June 8. The meeting, sponsored by Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, laid out plans for a Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis on June 22.
Davis has maintained his innocence throughout his 19 years on death row. No DNA or other physical evidence linked him to the killing. His conviction was based solely on the testimony of eyewitnesses, seven of whom have recanted or changed their testimony. Many say the police intimidated them into giving false statements.
"They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling them that I didn't know," stated Antoine Williams in a sworn affidavit. "After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read."
Last August the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia to make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes petitioners [Daviss] innocence. That is the purpose of the June 23 hearing.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice Anthony Scalia argued that the state can legally execute persons sentenced to death who are later found to be innocent. This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is actually innocent, Scalia wrote.
Solidarity activities in favor of freedom for Davis are planned for June 22 in both Atlanta and Savannah. The Atlanta event starts at 6:00 p.m. at the Georgia State Capitol. Amnesty International is organizing transportation from Atlanta to Savannah for the June 23 hearing, which is open to the public. Supporters who do not get into the courtroom will hold a vigil across the street. For more information: www.justicefortroy.org.
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