Troy Anthony Davis' legal team has finished presenting its case to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles in a last-ditch bid to win clemency.
"We believe we have established substantial doubt in this case," Stephen Marsh, one of Davis' lawyers, said after a three-hour hearing. The execution should not be allowed to go forward, he said.
The five-member board will now hear from prosecutors and surviving relatives of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, who was gunned down in a Burger King parking lot in 1989. Members of MacPhail's family, including his mother, Anneliese, were seen entering the parole board offices as were former Chatham County district attorney Spencer Lawton and and his former chief assistant, David Locke.
Davis, who has always maintained his innocence, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at the state prison in Jackson. Davis declined to request a special meal before the execution, prison officials say.
Davis’ case generated worldwide attention after a number of witnesses recanted or backed away from trial testimony that implicated Davis in the shooting. Some people later pointed to another man at the murder scene as the killer. But one court after another has rejected Davis' claims. His legal appeals appear to be exhausted, so the parole board could be his last chance to avoid execution.
A host of dignitaries have asked the parole board to grant Davis clemency. These include former President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, former Georgia congressman Bob Barr and former Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Norman Fletcher.
Among witnesses to testify today before the parole board was Brenda Forrest, a juror who voted to sentence Davis to death at the 1991 trial. She now says she has doubt about her verdict and is asking the board to grant clemency. Two other jurors who voted to sentence Davis to death have signed affidavits asking the board to spare Davis from execution.
Since the trial, Forrest said in her affidavit, she learned information that makes her no longer believe the case against Davis was ironclad. "I feel, emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances," she said.
Also testifying before the board was Quiana Glover, a Savannah woman who says that she heard Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who was with Davis shortly before MacPhai was killed, say he was the actual trigger man. Coles made the statement during a party in June 2009 and he had been drinking heavily, Glover said in a sworn affidavit. Coles, the first to implicate Davis to the police, testified at trial that he left the scene before shots were fired.