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The Georgia Board of Paroles and Pardons has, inexplicably, denied clemency to death row inmate Troy Davis. Offering little explanation, the Board announced that the appeal for clemency was denied and that Davis will be executed on Wednesday. Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles said it considered “the totality of the information presented” before deciding to deny clemency.
“The Board members have not taken their responsibility lightly and certainly understand the emotions attached to a death penalty case,” the five-person panel said in a statement. The board’s statement noted that it has commuted three death penalty sentences since 2000 and “thoroughly deliberated” the Davis case.
During the clemency hearing on Monday, Davis’ legal team and supporters provided testimony from one of the original jurors who believes she made a mistake. Another person testified that a different person confessed to the killing of the off-duty police officer that Davis was convicted of killing. Despite all of the doubt, the victim’s family believes that Davis is the killer and wants the execution to proceed.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who plans a noon EDT vigil at the state prison in Jackson on Wednesday, said he’s asking his supporters to urge the pardons board to reconsider. Sharpton is also asking Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm to block the execution, although that seems unlikely.
“This is probably the most egregious injustice I have seen in a long time, to set a precedent that a man can be executed when the evidence against him has mostly been recanted,” said Sharpton. “It’s unthinkable.”
Amnesty International USA director Larry Cox called the pardon board’s decision “unconscionable.” “Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system,” Cox said. Davis’ legal team said in a statement it was “incredibly disappointed” by the board’s decision.
“The death penalty should not be exercised where doubt exists about the guilt of the accused. The Board did not follow that standard here,” their statement said. “The state’s case against Mr. Davis, based largely on discredited eyewitness testimony and an inaccurate ballistics report, cannot resolve the significant, lingering doubts that exist here.”
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/amnestyinternational_usa/