Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Postmortem Evaluation of Troy Anthony Davis: Shirt-Swapping

In the previous postmortem post, I took a look at how well we were able to confine ourselves to the facts of the case, and to construct a logical arguments of guilt or innocence. I think we did pretty good. Some of us have room for improvement. I include myself in the group.

I'm apparently a slow learner, too. Last night I posted retroactively on the Steven Woods case. I allowed myself to go in for some poorly supported bad character claims, and I'll have to clean that up when I get a chance.

Tonight, I want to talk about how we did on the Sylvestor Coles shirt-swapping issue.

As I evaluate cases, I find most to be routine examples of man's inhumanity to others. It seems, though, that the ones with a potential for wrongful conviction have one or more tells that catch my eye and draw me in.

With respect to Byron Case, it was a mis-transcribed audio recording that made me begin to seriously question the State's case. It was the fact that the victim died with her eyes open that caused me to discover a little-known time-of-death marker that convinced me Byron is factually innocent. (I just finished a 19 page amicus letter in support of his petition for absolute pardon. I'll be sharing that before too long.)

In the Michael Ledford case, it was two missing candle holders and a strange looking circuit breaker that told me that Michael did not kill his one year old son via arson. (I just finished drafting a 147 page petition for absolute pardon for his case. I'll be sharing that sometime down the road.)

In the Cameron Todd Willingham case, it struck me that the State had a serious, serious conservation of mass problem. Willingham allegedly covered a large bedroom, a hallway, both sides of a door, and a porch with enough lighter fluid that it formed puddles and soaked deep into the flooring. They only found one small empty container of lighter fluid, and that was by the barbeque.

That conservaton of mass problem and of course the requisite lying ass snitch.

In Cory Maye, the case was littered with tells. Littered. A cop had been killed, however, and the police were going to see to it that Cory Maye paid the ultimate price. On a high note, Cory Maye walked free just a month or so ago.

Hank Skinner: Unknown fingerprints on a trash bag that held the bloody knife; untested DNA from a rape kit and from beneath the victim's fingernails. No scratches on Hank.

Larry Swearingen: Undigested tater tots and McNuggets in victim's stomach.

Frances Elaine Newton: A phone call reporting a gunshot that didn't fit into the police timeline.

Johnny Frank Garrett: A bent butterknife that the State claimed Garrett used to strangle a nun. (Who would strangle someone with a butterknife?)

As I worked on the Troy Davis case, two tells set off claxons in my skeptical head. The shirt swapping story and Dorothy Ferrell recognizing Davis' photo on the seat of a police car that just happened to stop by on an unrelated matter. Hahahahaha. Good one.

The one that set off a chime rather than a claxon is Officer MacPhail allegedly running right past Coles to confront Davis, even though MacPhail allegedly responded to the screams and did not see who struck the beer-hoarding Young. More than a couple of you readers homed in on that one.

The one that I completely missed, until Reader R. Lee pointed it out to me, was how everyone knew the color of one shirt (white) but almost no one mentioned the color of the other shirt (presumably yellow.)  "The only pre-Coles statement to include the color Yellow in it is Young's."

Good one, R. Lee.

As I already mentioned, before ambling about randomly for a while, I intend to focus (like a laser) in this post on the shirt swapping incident. It's time I get on with it.

Let's look first what I had to say about the shirt-swapping incident.
Had I been a juror, claxons would have been blaring in my head when the first one of them testified about the shirt swap. It's a transparently bogus story. My thought would have been that they feared someone had seen Coles in a white shirt or Davis in a yellow shirt. Any such sighting would be evidence that Coles, not Davis, was the shooter. So they concocted the story about the shirt swap to create plausible deniability. "Sure, my brother wasn't wearing the yellow shirt after the shooting, because I gave him a fresh one."

When the second one of them testified about the shirt swap, I would have hit the ceiling. I would have known then, without doubt, that they were lying. Coles said at trial that he gave the yellow shirt to Davis because that was the only other shirt he had at the house. Well that was certainly unfortunate for Davis. Recall that Coles had just been running for 15 to 20 minutes all the way from the crime scene to his sister's house.

Then it would hit me as odd that Coles kept shirts at his sister's house so that he could change after playing basketball, but the only shirt that was at her house was a red, white, and blue collared shirt. Seems like a limited and odd collection. Perhaps, I might think, he had taken all the others home with him to wash them.

Nope, that wouldn't be it. His sister said she washed the shirts for him. Remember? She washed the yellow shirt the next day, before giving it to the police. One wouldn't any unsightly incriminating evidence left on the shirt. How embarrassing!

The testimony that would have really done it for me, however, was when the sister said she laid out three shirts for her brother to change into. That's two more than her brother said were available. Why did Coles give Davis the sweaty, stinky t-shirt when he had just selected from a collection of three clean shirts his sister had laid out for him? 
I couldn't come up with a reasonable alternative explanation for the shirt swap. I figured they were lying, if for no other reason than they couldn't keep the number of shirts straight, but I couldn't figure out what they were tying to accomplish. I really jumped the shark when I suggested she washed the yellow shirt to remove incriminating evidence. I'll tell you why once I talk about how you guys also stumbled on the shirt swapping issue.

I'll begin with those of you who argued it must have gone down just as Coles and his sister said. That's a fair number of you, actually. It seems to me that you simply ignored the fact it couldn't have gone down like the two of them said, because the two of them said it differently. Coles said he gave Davis the yellow shirt because it was the only other one he had. His sister said she laid out three shirts for Coles. One or both of them is lying. That's the tell. You missed the tell.

You can try to argue that they may have lied about the number of shirts, but they didn't lie about the rest of the story. You can try it. The rest of us aren't buying. We shouldn't be executing someone based on the claims of people who provide perjurious testimony.

Reader Catherine Turley homed in on the shirt-swapping problem after Part 3, even before I wrote of it in Part 4. Here's a fraction of what she wrote:
if i believe coles was telling the truth about the shirt, and didn't do the killing, then he would have been knowingly implicating himself by giving the yellow shirt to troy (unless he's really stupid). if coles was telling the truth, but did do the killing, he was trying to set up his friend. if he was lying, and did do the killing, he was trying to implicate his friend. and if he was lying, and didn't do the killing, then he still has something to hide. looks like coles is guilty of something. i'll have to read over it again.
I'm smiling. I had to read her comment over again just as she had to read my writing over again. Anyway, she offered the thought that Coles was trying to implicate Troy by giving him the yellow shirt.

Reader Anonymous followed Reader Catherine Turley's comment with a similar thought, I think. He (or she) wrote in part:
A very confusing stage of events to say the least. My question is, it's stated that both Coles and his sister confess that when Davis arrived shirtless Coles gave troy his yellow shirt. The shirt he was wearing at the scene of the crime. I presume this acknowledgment is in the police records. Coles testified that Davis was in fact the shooter... he being an eye witness. He knows Troy just shot and possibly killed a cop and when troy asks him for a shirt to put on he gives him his crime scene garb. That's like giving him his identification. It's telling everyone that the guy in the yellow shirt killed the cop, the yellow shirt that the innocent Red Coles was wearing.
So at least I think Reader Anonymous agreed with Reader Catherine Turley.

Then I commented on my own post, complimenting them on their clear-headed thinking.
I like your analysis about why an innocent Sylvester Coles would not have given the actual shooter a shirt that would clear the shooter and increased the chance that he (Coles) would be implicated. Very clever.
Wow. What a dunderhead!

Then Reader Anonymous is back suggesting the yellow shirt was washed because it may have had gunshot residue on it so they had Davis wear it so that they could say any gunshot residue on the shirt came from Davis.  And I bought into that one as well, with the following brain-dead comment.
Good on you. I hadn't thought of the gunshot residue angle. I thought it strange they would invent a story about Davis putting on the shirt then soon taking it off, but I couldn't figure out why.

At least now, since your comment, I am aware of a viable hypothesis.
Brilliant!
Finally, a different Reader Anonymous set us straight.
Why would there be gunshot residue on the yellow shirt? The one thing everyone agrees on is that the shooter was wearing a white shirt.
Thanks Reader Anonymous for the whack on the head. I needed that. There wouldn't be gunshot residue on the yellow shirt, and there wouldn't be DNA on the yellow shirt (as others suggested), and Davis wouldn't be incriminated if he was caught in the yellow shirt.

Here's the deal, as I now see it, assuming you still trust my ability to reason logically.

Either the shirt swapping story is true or it's not. (So far, so good.) If it's true, then Coles was wearing the yellow shirt. (I think I'm okay so far.) If it's false, then Coles was probably wearing the white shirt. (I'm getting a little nervous.) But Coles' sister gave the police a yellow shirt, one that she had recently washed. (Now I'm getting a bit more nervous.) It's not clear, however, that Coles had a yellow shirt. In the false shirt-swapping scenario, he didn't have a yellow shirt at the crime scene. Unless he coincidentally had a yellow t-shirt kept at his sister's house, they would have needed to get hold of one somehow. (Sweating bullets here.)

At first, they didn't realize they needed one, so they didn't mention the shirt swapping story in their initial interviews. But then, Larry Young later identified Coles as the man in the yellow shirt, after earlier identifying someone unrelated to the case. (I'm getting ready to go out on a limb.)  Furthermore a bunch of people had told the police that the guy in the white (or light-colored) shirt was the shooter.

It was at that point that Sylvester Coles realized he had two big problems. First, a number of people had seen him after the shooting in a white shirt. Second, he didn't have a yellow shirt. (It's too late to stop now.) So they simply went out and bought a nice yellow shirt. It looked new, so they aged it using a number of techniques, including washing it. (I wonder if they're buying it.) The story about Davis showing up wasn't necessary, it was just a nice twist. Claiming that Davis showed up without a shirt is all the incrimination they needed to provide to the police. Claiming they gave him the yellow shirt simply added color and realism to the story. They couldn't let him keep it, though, because they had to give a yellow shirt to the police to prove that Coles was wearing one that night.

Whew!

So, finally, how do I assess our ability to make sense of the shirt-swapping tell?

Not so good. I think most of us were pretty careless in our logic on this point. I'm not sure we have it figured out yet.

I think I'll wrap this postmortem up with one more post. I think I'll write about how we attempted to figure out who was telling the truth: those who claimed coercion versus those who denied coercion.

Good night.

19 comments:

Tali said...

"I'm apparently a slow learner, too. Last night I posted retroactively on the Steven Woods case. I allowed myself to go in for some poorly supported bad character claims, and I'll have to clean that up when I get a chance."

Thanks you for bringing that up! :)
-t

Mols said...

Yes, the shirt-swapping was confusing & suspect, however - it begs the question - was the white shirt ever found? We know that police illegally obtained the shorts from Davis' house and that evidence was ruled out during trial because of that fact. However - was testing performed on the shorts? There would have been traces of gunfire residue on the shorts if Davis were in fact the shooter in the black shorts & white shirt.

Here's my concern regarding the eyewitness statements. Young initially stated that the person arguing with him for the right to a beer was not the person who struck him with the butt of a gun. Murray states that 'one' of the individuals struck Young & subsequently shot MacPhail. Williams does not mention which of the two. The five in the van saw nothing of the altercation between Davis or Coles & Young aside from Sanders & he too does not make any differentiating statements regarding the argument & shooter.

In Coles testimony, he states that he is the one that was arguing with Young for a beer. This is corroborated by Young & Davis' testimony. Collins stated (and since recanted) that Davis was the attacker. Davis stated in his own testimony that Coles was the arguer as well as the assailant.

So, we're down to this: Regardless of shirt colour, we have a case of he said/he said. In Young's 2002 affidavit, he states "I never have been able to make sense of what happened that night. It’s as much a blur now as it was then."

And that leads us to Collins' signed affidavit stating: "I testified against Troy at his trial. I remember that I told the jury that Troy hit the man that Red was arguing with. That is not true. I never saw Troy do anything to the man. I said this at the trial because I was still scared that the police would throw me in jail for being an accessory to murder if I told the truth about what happened…

It is time that I told the truth about what happened that night, and what is written here is the truth. I am not proud for lying at Troy’s trial, but the police had me so messed up that I felt that’s all I could do or else I would go to jail."

Care to shed some light on this for me? Hearsay or not, this is my biggest question in the case... I would think that Young would remember the events leading up to his attack. Adrenaline can sober someone up pretty quickly.

I still don't buy Davis as the killer, but this is what has me baffled.

I caught the discrepancies in Coles & his sister's statement & subsequent testimony. If Coles is innocent, why the need to lie about it? It's like you said "First to talk, walks. Last to lie, dies."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your insightful analysis of this complex case. The opportune timing of the introduction or "invention" of the shirt-swapping tale begins to raise all kinds o flags.

This may be a minor point: what did Davis's side gain by not allowing the shorts to be introduced as evidence? If he is innocent, wouldn't the shorts show nothing incriminating on them? Also, why were only the shorts there? Why wasn't the shirt there, too?

Anonymous said...

I was buying into the notion that after so many expert and experienced legal authorities have reviewed this case multiple times and they did not find any substantive flaws, there should be no doubt. But thanks to reading the writing and exchanges here made me aware that the authorities can be biased simply because of the positions they occupy and not be open to look at all the possibilities.

I would also like add one more observation here.

The biggest tragedy in this case is that the convicted man happened to live among the kind of crowd in which committing criminal acts was commonplace.

Let us assume that you are young and innocent.

What makes you hang out with someone who harasses a poor homeless man to get a bottle of beer from him that he just purchased?

And in this mix, when a police officer, who happens to be white, comes on the scene and your "buddy" shoots and kills him. He then turns himself in to the police and tells them that you killed the cop. Many of the witnesses happen to have criminal records and some are on parole and they all are scared of the cops, especially when one of the cops is killed. You have no money to get a good lawyer. The public defendant handling your case is already overworked with dozens of cases.

What are your chances of getting a just deal in this mess?

Jypsea Rose said...

Okay...just for argument's sake, I'll accept your premise that Coles and his sister are lying and therefore I'm putting the shirt swap aside for the moment.

That still leaves the accounting from Coles and the other witnesses in the parking lot. They all tell virtually the same story. Coles certainly did not meet up with the van full of Air Force personnel in order to get their stories straight, right?

The ONLY person who varied away from every other account was Davis. His story (and the fact that he fled the area) is wildly different. He tells a much different story, in fact--he's more or less a "hero" in his version-- that is not corroborated by one other single person. Not one. Why? Because the truth will do him no good. The truth sabotages him.

I believe Davis is guilty.

Full disclosure: I'm a conservative but I am anti-death penalty. I listened to a Holocaust survivor speak out against the death penalty. It was so long ago that I cannot recall one single word she said, but she made such an impression on me that afterwards, I made the decision to be anti-death penalty. So even though I believe Davis is guilty, I'm sorry he was put to death and wish he was still alive serving his sentence.

Jypsea Rose said...

Sorry...this another thing that I just cannot get past, even setting the shirt swap aside.

It's the late 80's, a young black man in the Deep South, involved in a crime that left a police office dead...just walks into the lion's den the next day? He had every expectation of being taken out back and shot in the name of "resisting arrest". Only an innocent person would do that, or a very, very cool customer and there's no evidence that Coles is such a master criminal. The shooter, on the other hand, scared witless, would clear out of Dodge as fast as he could.

This is beyond the first who talks walks, the last to lie dies. This is "I killed a police officer and I need to flee."

Anonymous said...

I just found your site when investigating the Troy Davis case. But the shirt swapping is weird and more of a case that hey two in the morning people that were involved in a crime are thinking straight to try the shirt on just in case as a defense for the brother that maybe in the very unlikely hood that only the witnesses could identify them by shirt color? It's more of a case of people not remember every detail and the person guilty of the crime trying to think of a way out of a crime. Davis would have ditched the gun and the shirt because it probably had blood and then he went to find another shirt and his initial thinking was, "Hey maybe I can say I wasn't at the scene and when he saw the same yellow shirt he couldn't do that either"

Remember that from the earlier shooting that night at least 3 people identified him by his white/batman shirt and the defense couldn't find one person that could back up Davis's story of wearing a totally different shirt.

Mike

Anonymous said...

Also, is there a link to the actual court testimony? What you had was a summary of what was said, not the exact words. The person that summarized it might have forgotten that Cole's sister laid out 3 shirts and mis-phrased it as the only shirt he had. Also what the statement, "I gave him the only shirt I had" to the court or was it to Davis? I mean if you had a guy that just killed a copy come to you door asking for a shirt and he asks for a shirt you hand him the one that right on the bannister (per his sister) and not the one someone else and you lie to Davis and say "It's the only shirt I have" because you aren't going to spend the extra effort to go find another shirt.

Mike

R Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R Lee said...

A SUCCINCT EXPLANATION FOR A GUILTY VERDICT

This comes only after many scenarios have been considered, several of which I've not seen considered elsewhere. I will post again to discuss an opinion of how I think the whole night went down and some theories I would have explored had I been Mr. Davis' defense attorney.

The Shooting of Officer MacPhail, 1:08 am, August 19, 1989:

Like everyone else, my initial efforts were spent in taking in all of the pieces of evidence, and the shirt colors worn that night were no small part. But, the questionable issue of clothing, the widely varying physical descriptions and the highly suspect photo and lineup identifications after one suspect had fingered the other had me look beyond all of those factors. Wasn't there convincing testimony to reveal who shot MacPhail without using facial identification, physical characteristics and clothing?

You could almost call this 'the case within the case'. The crux of it all lies with three indisputable acts and three very credible testimonies. Everything else is background noise.

Troy Davis (at trial): Sylvester Coles argued with Larry Young continuously from the parking lot of the pool room and convenience store for two blocks into the Burger King parking lot as Davis trailed close behind. As Davis was leaving the parking lot (in the direction of the bank building) he saw Collins running up ahead of him in the same direction.

Larry Young (2 hours after the shooting): He was trailed by three people into the Burger King parking lot, arguing with one of them since leaving the pool room parking lot over a block away. He [Young] was looking at the guy he'd been arguing with when another person hit him in the side of the head. The third person was not involved in the altercation.

Larry Young (at trial): The person who hit him was definitely not the person with whom he had argued.

Antoine Williams (2 hours after the shooting): Three persons followed Mr. Young into the Burger King parking lot. A person hit Mr. Young with a gun. A police officer runs after the person with the gun. The two unarmed persons are running away as gunman attempts to put gun in pants. As police officer nears gunman, the gunman shoots the police officer.

Davis identifies by name the only two suspects in this case, himself and Sylvester Coles, and he exonerates Collins from being either the person who was arguing with Mr. Young and/or the person who hit Mr. Young, as does Coles' testimony.

Davis as well identifies Sylvester Coles as being the person who was arguing with Mr. Young.

Young, though he admits he might be sketchy on identifying the suspects visually, is emphatic about stating that the person who hit him was not the person who was harassing him verbally.

Thus, it is clear that Sylvester Coles was arguing with Mr. Young and that Troy Davis hit Mr. Young on the side of his face with the butt of a gun.

There were actually three witnesses who on the night of the shooting stated that the person who hit Mr. Young also shot MacPhail (actually there was a fourth, but the fourth did not see the first shot that was fired). However, two of them were on the east side of the parking lot, and were momentarily distracted by Mr. Young's dash for help before looking back to see the officer get shot. Antoine Williams was in his car on the other side of the commotion with a full view of all that occurred.

Williams clearly asserts (and we have no reason to doubt his veracity whatsoever) that the only weapon he saw was that which the assailant [Troy Davis] had used to hit Mr. Young, whereupon the assailant [Troy Davis] was attempting to put the gun back in his pants and "appeared to panic" as the officer approached. The assailant [Troy Davis] turned and shot the officer [MacPhail].

As hard as I tried to make a case for innocence, I believe Troy Davis killed Mark MacPhail.

Case closed.

R Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R Lee said...

A VAST CHANGE MUST TAKE PLACE

First: The state should not be in the business of prosecuting, it should be in the business of discovery. It should not put all of its vast resources and influence toward finding only evidence which is unfavorable towards an accused. It should undertake the job of securing every piece of evidence which could add to a clear understanding of the events at issue. Simply put, its responsibility should be in finding the truth, the whole truth. An accused should not have to depend upon their own financial resources to seek out evidence to prove their innocence.

Second: In line with the above, the combative structure used for our trials is archaic, even barbaric. These matters, even if they be only misdemeanors, are not trivial to the lives of those who are accused. It is NOT a game, it is not a sport, it should not be structured with teams where one loses and one wins. In keeping with this, our laws governing trial procedures, evidence and appeals need massive revisions to reflect a society more interested in truth and real justice, no matter the hour, over arbitrary timelines.

Third: The jury system is a disaster. There should be highly analytical people sitting in judgment of the evidence brought to court. I would hope for a minimum IQ of 125 to qualify as a juror. A professional jury system needs to be established.

Fourth: Police departments should not be in the business of investigating. Another agency, with absolutely no crossover employment, should undertake the gathering of evidence. These two departments should be as disconnected as feasible. The police should be charged simply with responding to public safety issues as reported to them, and limited to restoring the peace with appropriate means, which could include arrests. The other agency would be called in to handle issues from that point. The intellects suited to one application simply do not suffice to produce outstanding work in the other.

R Lee said...

An Interesting Addendum to My Davis Opinion -
The Unmentioned Witness

Although the connection of the assailant of Mr. Young to the killer of MacPhail was sufficiently made with the testimony of Antoine Willams, and to a lessor extent with testimony of other witnesses, there is in fact a witness to the event whose testimony has not been recognized, and I think it should be.

All testimony indicates that Officer MacPhail pursued the 'assailant' with nothing more than a 'nightstick' in hand. And yet, the officer went after a particular individual.

Officer MacPhail was not going after a person he suspected of carrying a handgun in a criminal act, as he obviously would have immediately drawn in own gun in pursuing the assailant.

Instead he selected to pursue that particular individual because he had seen him hit Mr. Young, if only the tail end portion of the act. That is what caused him to purse one person over the other. It was the hit he saw, not the gun.

For me, this is clear testimony by Mark MacPhail as to who it was that shot him. Officer MacPhail has indicated that it was the person who had hit Mr. Young.

Anonymous said...

Information provided from actual transcripts indicate that the mother of Troy Davis testified that Troy Davis left home around 10pm in a multi-colored polo shirt, not a yellow or white shirt. However, Davis said he got wet at the pool party and returned home to change clothes. What could possibly make him not remember what he was wearing?

Anonymous said...

Information ascertained also indicates that the shorts were taken from the Davis home, but were excluded from evidence due to the lack of a search warrant. A test was done but the small amount of blood (blood stain) was not presumed to be a match from MacPhail, so whether it was used or not, it is a fact that it was not determined to be evidence that could be used by either party in this case.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic that the Davis family lived on SYLVESTER DRIVE?

Something to think about is that fact that the Savannah Evening Press (August 21, 1989) reported that Davis was the suspected killer and that he was linked to another shooting one hour before MacPhail's shooting as the arrest warrant was typed up and ready late SATURDAY. The reports also state that Davis confronted Yound near a pool hall and exchanged words with him over beer then Davis struck him in the face then MacPhail saw Davis and two other men standing in the parking lot near the corner of Oglethorpe Avenue and Fahm Street. When MacPhail approached the group, the man identified as Davis pulled a gun and opened fire on him. This newspaper report indicates that the police had already determined that Davis was the shooter and everybody in Savannah believed the printed words, so Coles did everything he could to cover himself, when in fact he did the shooting and framed Davis for this crime. That is why he ran to tell the police about Davis and covered his tracks by creating the shirt change story and got his sister and others to go along with that lie. Davis is innocent, set up, and the three from that night know the TRUTH! That is why he got three more chances from GOD because MAN said no!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sold on the shirt swapping story being conclusive of Coles' guilt. A simple explanation of the 1 vs. 3 shirts to choose from is that the sister told the truth, there were three -- but Coles lied to Davis because he didn't want to help him cuz he just shot someone. If a guy shows up at your house, asking for a clean shirt after shooting a cop, would you offer to go get him one? I find it more interesting that Davis didn't keep the shirt (by either's testimony). I suspect that the cops told Coles that the white shirt shot the cop and the yellow one ran away, and Coles wanted to make sure they knew he was the Yellow shirt guy. Was he? I don't know, but I can see him being an idiot mastermind trying to make up a story (rather than relying on truth that wasn't compelling) to prove he wasn't wearing white...

Anonymous said...

I should have added to previous post that there are a lot of cases in Canadian law where the accused basically doesn't help themself by telling the truth -- they lie because they always lie. Or, rather than admit they were doing something less than savoury (like being an accomplice after the fact), they make up an elaborate story instead. Of course, when the story falls apart, people go "Aha! Evidence of guilt of the original crime!". Well, unfortunately no, it is evidence they are liars, not evidence they are killers.

Anonymous said...

Another sIde of this case is that maybe Coles was wearing the white shirt all night and Davis was wearing a yellow shirt. When Coles was arguing with the homeless man in his white shirt it is possible that the homeless man's drunk state of mind caused him to be mistaken.

Play this version out in your head:
Coles arguing in white shirt with Young. As he was arguing with Coles Then Young turns to Davis in yellow shirt for some type of help in getting Coles to leave him alone. Young was asking Davis to please tell this dude to leave him alone. As Young is looking at Davis in yellow shirt he is struck by Coles in the white shirt then he runs to the BK drive area for help then Collins notices the cop coming and starts to run pass Davis. Davis sees Collins running, so he runs too and never turns around to see Coles in the white shirt shoot the cop. After they leave the area, Coles panics and starts to come up with a story of the shirt swop but actually Coles is the shooter. Davis simply runs and thinks no more of it as this was a common place thing to happen with young folks hanging out on a Friday night. Davis continued with his Saturday routine with plans to go to Atlanta, which he did and later came to know that there was a shoot to kill warrant for his body. Like any normal person innocent of any crime, he made contact and sought legal counsel. However, Coles who was thought to be innocent immediately reported to the police with a lawyer as if he had something to hide, so I think if anything both should have been arrested and charged as we know Coles did harass Young, one of them shot MacPhail, also there were two other shootings that night-one guy was shot while in the car and another guy was shot in the leg that no one talked much about. Who shot Cooper in the face? Who shot MacPhail? Who shot the other guy in the leg? Why did so many people hold back? People were afraid of Coles because he is a known bully and had hurt many people in the neighborhood if they did not do what he said as he instructed along wiith force by the police because of their fear and criminal history. The police force acted on the leads mainly from Coles. Coles set itmup to save himself because he had kids and felt Davis had nothing but time, so Davis lived on a street named Sylvester Drive his entire life (birth to execution).

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