Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Yellow and White Case of Troy Anthony Davis: Part 3

For those of you unfamiliar with how multi-part posts work, you're supposed to read them in order. If you haven't read Part 1 and Part 2, do so now. We'll leave bread crumbs so when you get back here you'll be able to follow along.

In this third post in my series of indeterminate length, I'm going to, as I promised you I would, provide you with the information you need to figure out who killed Officer Mark MacPhail. You won't have to wade through the 400,000 documents on line to find the critical information. You won't even have to read Judge Moore's 172 page decision. Heck, you don't even have to read Amnesty International's skimpy 39 page summary. Assuming you've read Part 1 and Part 2 of this august series, you will have everything you need to make your decision when you finish reading this post.

Let's get started. All the referenced material below comes from Judge Moore's decision. I have edited it somewhat to get rid of statements and testimony about the other shootings, the various guns that were floating around, the snitch testimony, and other distractions.

First, I'm going to give you Sylvester "Red" Coles' version of events.

Sylvestor Coles' Initial Statement
At 8:52 p.m. on August 19, 1989, Mr. Sylvester "Red" Coles gave a statement to the police concerning the MacPhail shooting. Mr. Coles was standing outside of Charlie Brown's pool room with Messrs. Troy Davis and Darrell Collins when he started arguing with someone passing through the parking lot. Mr. Coles continued to argue with the individual as he walked toward the Burger King restaurant, followed by Messrs. Davis and Collins. Mr. Coles stated that, when they were near the restaurant's drive-through window, Mr. Davis hit the individual in the head with a pistol. As the individual ran off shouting, a police officer came out of the Burger King restaurant and told Messrs. Coles and Davis to "hold it." Mr. Coles stood in the middle of the parking lot while Mr. Davis ran past him toward the Trust Company Bank building. After the officer, nightstick in hand, ran past Mr. Coles toward Mr. Davis, Mr. Coles heard a gunshot. Upon hearing the shot, Mr. Coles began running toward the Trust Company Bank building.  As he was fleeing, Mr. Coles turned around and saw the police officer falling to the ground. Mr. Coles ran past the pool room to his sister's house in Yamacraw Village.
Sylvester Coles' Preliminary Hearing
At the hearing, Mr. Coles testified that he was playing pool at Charlie Brown's pool room in the early hours of August 19, 1989, when he began arguing with a man coming out of the Time-Saver. The argument started because the man would not give Mr. Coles one of the beers he had just purchased. As the argument continued, Mr. Coles pursued the man as he walked toward the Burger King parking lot. Messrs. Davis and Collins followed the pair by cutting through the Trust Company Bank property. As Mr. Coles and the man he was arguing with neared the Burger King drive-through, the man stopped and the two began trading insults face-to-face. While they were arguing, Mr. Coles observed Mr. Davis take up a position just behind the man and to the man's right, with Mr. Collins remaining somewhere behind Mr. Davis. As the man was looking at Mr. Coles, Mr. Davis hit the man in the head with a small, snub-nose thirty-eight with a black or brown handle. ...

After being struck by Mr. Davis, the individual ran to the drive-through window, pleading for someone to call the police. Both Messrs. Coles and Davis had turned to start running -- Mr. Coles toward the Trust Company Bank building and Mr. Davis closer to Oglethorpe Avenue. Soon after they had started running, a police officer came around the Burger King and told them to "hold it." Upon hearing the officer, Mr. Coles turned and stopped. The officer ran past Mr. Coles' right side, continuing toward Mr. Davis. After the officer had passed him, Mr. Coles heard a single gunshot, which caused him to turn and resume running toward the Trust Company Bank building. As he was running, Mr. Coles heard two more gunshots. Mr. Coles stated that he was wearing a yellow t-shirt and blue shorts the night of the shooting, but could not remember what Mr. Davis was wearing. ...

Mr. Coles stated that he continued running to the Yamacraw neighborhood until he reached the home of his sister, Ms. Valerie Gordon. Mr. Coles had been sitting on his sister's porch for twenty to thirty minutes when a shirtless Mr. Davis approached and asked Mr. Coles for a shirt. Mr. Coles gave Mr. Davis the yellow t-shirt that he had been wearing earlier that night -- the only spare shirt Mr. Coles had on hand.
Sylvester Coles Trial Testimony
Mr. Coles testified at the trial that, in the early hours of August 19, 1989, he was outside of Charlie Brown's pool room when he asked a man passing by for a beer.  Mr. Coles began arguing with the individual when he was refused, following him along Oglethorpe Avenue toward the Burger King parking lot. Messrs. Davis and Collins were trailing the two, coming around the back of the Trust Company Bank building. The three young men converged on the individual with the beer in the Burger King parking lot, Mr. Coles in front of him, Mr. Davis behind the individual to his right, and Mr. Collins in the background. As the individual was looking at Mr. Coles, Mr. Davis hit the man on the side of the head with a black, short-barreled thirty-eight with a brown handle. He recalled seeing Mr. Davis with a gun in the waistline of his pants earlier when they were at the pool room. After the assault the group scattered: the man who was struck ran to the drive-through window, Coles ran toward the back of the Trust Company Bank building, and Mr. Davis ran along Oglethorpe Avenue toward the front of the Trust Company Bank property. As they started to run, a police officer appeared from behind the Burger King and ordered everyone to "hold it."  Mr. Coles stopped and turned, and the officer ran past him toward Oglethorpe Avenue. As the officer ran past him, Mr. Coles heard a single gunshot. After hearing the first gunshot, he turned and resumed running, at which point he heard two more gunshots.  Mr. Coles continued running until he reached his sister's house in the Yamacraw neighborhood.

When Mr. Coles arrived at his sister's house, he changed out of his yellow t-shirt. Approximately twenty to thirty minutes after Mr. Coles arrived, Mr. Davis appeared at the house. Mr. Davis was not wearing a shirt when he arrived and asked for one to wear. Mr. Coles gave Mr. Davis the only other shirt he had at the house -- the yellow t-shirt he had been wearing earlier. As Mr. Coles was leaving, Mr. Davis put on the yellow t-shirt. ... He explained that he often kept clothes at his sister's house because he liked to change after playing basketball in that neighborhood. Mr. Coles admitted that, after leaving his sister's house, he walked back by the Burger King parking lot, then returned to her house.

The afternoon after the shooting, Mr. Coles brother and uncle took him to an attorney, for whom Mr. Coles had occasionally worked. After listening to Mr. Coles, the attorney promptly took Mr. Coles to the police station to provide a voluntary statement.
Valerie Coles Gordon's Initial Statement
At 10:47 a.m. on September 1, 1989, the police obtained a statement from Ms. Valerie Gordon, Mr. Coles' sister. Ms. Gordon informed the police that, in the early morning of August 19, 1989, she was sitting on her front porch when she heard gunshots. A few minutes later, Mr. Coles ran onto the front porch and sat down in a chair. He then informed his sister that he was not sure what was going on, but that there had been a shooting and he thought someone was trying to kill him. Mr. Coles changed out of his yellow t-shirt and into a red, white, and blue stripped collared shirt that Ms. Gordon retrieved for him.

As Ms. Gordon returned to the front door, she observed a shirtless Mr. Davis standing next to the porch, talking to Mr. Coles.  Mr. Coles gave Mr. Davis the yellow t-shirt he had previously been wearing, which Mr. Davis then put on. Ms. Gordon informed the police that, after Mr. Davis put on the yellow t-shirt, Mr. Coles left the property and she went inside the house. A few minutes later, she observed Mr. Davis take off the yellow t-shirt, lay it just inside her front door, and exit the property.
Valerie Coles Gordon's Trial Testimony
Ms. Gordon testified at the trial that, in the early hours of August 19, 1989, she was sitting on the porch of her Yamacraw neighborhood home when she heard some gunshots. Approximately fifteen to twenty minutes later, Ms. Gordon's brother, Mr. Coles, ran onto the porch. Mr. Coles immediately slumped over, gasping for breath, causing Ms. Gordon to think that he was hurt. Satisfied that he was uninjured, Ms. Gordon went into the house and laid out three shirts for Mr. Coles to change into. Ms. Gordon recalls Mr. Coles changing out of the yellow shirt he had been wearing into a blue, red, and white collared shirt. After changing shirts, Mr. Coles left the yellow shirt on the banister.

A few minutes later, Mr. Davis came up to the porch, wearing dark shorts and no shirt. Mr. Coles stepped outside to speak with Mr. Davis, eventually handing him the yellow shirt that Mr. Coles had previously been wearing. After handing the yellow shirt to Mr. Davis, Mr. Coles left. According to Ms. Gordon, Mr. Davis put the shirt on, but quickly took it off and left it by her front door. She washed the shirt the next day, later giving it to the police.
Troy Anthony Davis' Trial Testimony
At trial, Mr. Davis took the stand in his own defense. ... Mr. Davis never stated what color shirt he was wearing ... Mr. Davis was waiting to play a game of pool when Mr. Collins told him that Mr. Coles was outside arguing with someone. After going outside, Mr. Davis decided to follow the arguing pair. As he neared Mr. Coles, Mr. Davis figured out that Mr. Coles wanted the man to give him some of his beer. Mr. Davis told Mr. Coles to just leave the man alone, but Mr. Coles told him to "shut the hell up." Joined by Mr. Collins, Mr. Davis continued following Mr. Coles to see what would happen.

Mr. Davis, along with Mr. Collins, cut through the back of the Trust Company Bank property on their way to the Burger King parking lot. As Mr. Coles was about to cross Fahm Street toward the Burger King parking lot, Mr. Davis overheard Mr. Coles threaten to take the life of the man with whom Mr. Coles was arguing. Mr. Davis caught up with Mr. Coles and the individual in the middle of the Burger King parking lot. According to Mr. Davis, he again pleaded with Mr. Coles to leave the man alone, but was told to shut up.

Mr. Davis testified that the individual turned to Mr. Davis and told him to tell Mr. Coles to back off. While the individual was focused on Mr. Davis, Mr. Coles slapped him in the head. Mr. Davis stated that, after Mr. Coles slapped the individual, Mr. Davis shook his head and started walking away. As he was walking, Mr. Davis observed Mr. Collins running, prompting Mr. Davis to start jogging away from the Burger King. Looking over his shoulder, Mr. Davis saw a police officer entering the Burger King parking lot.

When Mr. Davis was crossing back over Fahm Street, toward the Trust Company Bank property, he heard a single gunshot, which caused him to run even faster. Mr. Davis was running past Charlie Brown's when he heard a few more gunshots. As Mr. Davis was entering the Yamacraw neighborhood, Mr. Coles ran past him. Thinking Mr. Coles had been shot, Mr. Davis asked him if he was alright, but Mr. Coles continued running and did not respond. ...

Mr. Davis testified that, at the time of the shooting, he weighed approximately one-hundred and seventy-five pounds. He denied ever having a fade-away haircut. Comparing himself to Mr. Coles, Mr. Davis stated that he was the same height, a little bigger, and had a darker complexion. ...

... Mr. Davis stated that he approached the Burger King parking lot from behind the Trust Company Bank building because he thought it was faster, not because he wanted to approach the man Mr. Coles was arguing with without being seen.

Also, Mr. Davis reiterated that it was Mr. Coles who slapped Mr. Young. He denied shooting the police officer, [or] seeing Mr. Coles at his sister's house later that evening ...
There you go. That's all you need.

Now you can decide how you would have voted had you been a skeptical juror in this case. It's not good enough to decide how you would have voted. You need to justify your decision.

You have until tomorrow. Then I'll post my answer and we can compare notes.

Part 4 be here.


Catherine Turley said...

aah?! apparently i'm a dummy who needs more info. unless darrell collins has problems with one or the other, he's the only one without a dog in the fight who won't make an identification error. all that shirt swapping business is what stinks to me. i can believe troy took off his shirt while running, but why the heck would he put on coles' shirt? 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.

Catherine Turley said...

also, how are we certain that white and yellow were coles and davis, and not coles and collins?

Catherine Turley said...

ok. i think i see what you're getting at. coles and davis both agree that coles was the one arguing with young. the independent witnesses agree that the one who killed the officer was not the one who was arguing with young.

Anonymous said...

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. The other thing about the yellow shirt is that, as stated, his sister washed it and then turned it over to police. It's stated that Coles family got a lawyer who I expect orchestrated how things should be played out up until he took Coles to the police to turn evidence. I suspect he also advised his sister to wash the shirt (why?).
Why did he want Davis to have the yellow shirt, why not give him the one he had on and just put his yellow shirt back on. It stated also that Davis took the shirt off as quickly as he put it on... If it dawned on me that I had just put on a shirt worn by a recent murderer I to would take the shirt off!

tsj said...

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.

tsj said...

You made the same fine point that Anon made, and you made it first. Very clever of you as well.

Anonymous said...

One thing to add to the yellow shirt mystery is that the sister says Davis put on the yellow shirt and took it off. He also left it just inside the front door... This brings me back to the lawyer that was retained by Coles family. It was their intention of turning the yellow shirt over to the police...(which they did). Now if Coles committed the murder, the lawyer would assume that gunshot residue would likely be on the shirt. But as it was stated... the sister washed the shirt before turning it over to police. Now just to be on the safe side... that is, if somehow faint traces of gunshot residue could still be detected even after the washing of the shirt (you never know), they create a situation where Troy puts on the shirt for a short time but then takes it off and leaves it just inside the front door...thus if asked why there is traces of gun powder in the shirt, the answer would be, we gave it to Troy and he put it on, but then took it off...I noticed how they emphasized the duration of Davis' wearing of the shirt...just enough time to explain away any possible evidence after the washing... it's calculation... Coles is once again clear of the crime... That whole situation smells of a tricky lawyer... The truth is simple and clear... but a lie is complicated, and when analyzed, usually makes no sense... Coles is a man with something to hide!

tsj said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Given how much of this case turns on who was wearing what, it's pretty amazing that Davis didn't testify to what he was wearing that night. And neither side asked him? Also, Davis had been at a pool party earlier that evening where lots of people saw him. None of them could remember what he was wearing either? Unless, of course, he and some of his friends knew very well what he was wearing and didn't testify because what he was wearing would have implicated him in the crime. If what I read elsewhere is correct, police recovered a pair of freshly washed black shorts but no shirt from the dryer at the Davis house. The white Batman shirt the shooter was wearing and the murder weapon were never found. If Davis wasn't the shooter, what was he wearing that night and what happened to those clothes? And if he was the guy in the yellow shirt, why on earth didn't he say so?

Of course what he did say is as problematic as what he didn't say. Davis makes himself out to be the good guy trying to stop Young from being assaulted, but that's not how Young tells it. On the other hand, Coles' account of how this thing went down is corroborated by Young (at least up until the point Young is hit and runs for help). The guy in the yellow shirt started this whole mess by demanding a beer from Young, but it was the guy in the white shirt who took the shortcut through the bank parking lot, hit Young with the gun, and then shot officer MacPhail. Davis admits that he (and Collins) cut through the bank parking lot but claims Coles was the one who hit Young, while Young was turning to Davis for help. Too bad that's not how Young described what happened. Is it possible that Young was confused about whether white shirt or yellow shirt hit him? After all, it happened quickly and he had been drinking. Maybe, but I find it hard to believe that he was confused about which guy started the argument, followed him down the street, threatened him, and traded insults with him face to face--that guy, he said, was wearing a yellow shirt. Coles and Davis both agree that Coles was that guy. And that puts Coles in the yellow shirt. So Davis had to be wearing the white shirt, which explains why he didn't discuss what he was wearing when he took the stand: All the witnesses agree that the guy in the white shirt was the shooter.

Anonymous said...

This story is missing a lot of detail... So, what color shirt was Troy wearing at the time? What does Collins have to say about what happened? Why would someone get an attorney, if they didnt need one? What was the purpose of changing the shirts? Why didnt Davis have one on? Too, many questions. The only fact in this story is that a police officer was murdered.

Emma said...

Anonymous at 8:56PM Remember Young later said he honestly couldn't remember what anyone was wearing that night, he said he had been drinking, and it all happened so far, and that he couldn't remember (see Part 2) so it is VERY possible he was confused about the color of the shirt. Others back up the white shirt thing but they also ALL state that they couldn't see well.

The t-shirt color confuses things, the points about Troy putting it on and taking it off were on my mind too. I think there is too little known about the shirt for it to really hold too much weight, however the part about Troy wearing it and then taking it off is significant because of what others have already said: He would take it off quickly knowing that someone just committed a murder in it assuming he did in fact put it on. It makes sense for Coles and his sister to make up the story about the t-shirt to further implicate Troy and if they tested the (washed (!)) shirt and didn't find any of Troy's DNA on it, that would be bad for them. The sister states she laid out 3 shirts for Coles, why didn't he give Troy one of his clean shirts rather than the one he just changed out of. Coles said he gave him the Yellow shirt because it was the only other shirt available, but the sister said she laid out 3 shirts for him.

One thing no-one has mentioned, is that Coles says he was arguing with Young, then when McPhail shouts he stops and McPhail runs past him to Troy (sorry I'm calling him Troy instead of Davis). That would put Coles in the middle of the parking lot between the Van and where the Murder takes place, Coles says he started running again towards the bank when he heard the first shot. Not a single other person - Young, Murray, the guys in the van, the employee - mentioned that Yellow or White shirt or anyone else was standing in the middle of the parking lot when the shooting took place.

One thing I hoped we'd get more information on was: How Troy and Coles knew each other, Collins' testimony (maybe he was the snitch or one who recanted or changes his testimony and that's why he was left out?), Troy's past convictions or trouble with the police or anything else that would give us more insight into why Troy was (supposedly) made a scapegoat in this case.

Very interesting, thanks so much for putting all of this in such an easy to read format, it is a sad case. I think at the end of the day, the fact that Troy was put to death, was wrong given the doubt and confusion in the case, and the fact Coles got off scott free even though there is clear confusion about whether or not it was him and what role he played, his also wrong.

Emma said...

Sorry about Typo's "it all happened so fast" not far.

Anonymous said...


By the time officer MacPhail came on the scene, Coles was no longer arguing with Young. He started running when white shirt hit Young and Young began yelling for help. So, no, he wouldn't be standing in the middle of the parking lot at the time of the shooting.

Also, while Young now claims that he was only saying what police told him to say, and couldn't really remember anything, I believe he's either lying or mistaken. All the witnesses have been under tremendous pressure from Davis supporters (some of them very high profile) to change their testimony. I don't doubt for a second that Young's (and some of the other witnesses') IDs of Davis as the shooter were "helped along" by the cops and don't trust any witness statements obtained after police settled on Davis as the guilty party, but as TSJ correctly points out, in the immediate aftermath of the murder, the police didn't know about Davis or Coles or how this thing went down or what anyone was wearing. In other words, they had no story to insist on. On top of that, witness recollections are going to be far more accurate a couple of hours after an event than 20+ years later. And according to the early, untainted witness statements, the shooter was wearing a white T-shirt and black/dark shorts or pants.

Speaking of which, a pair of freshly washed black shorts matching witness descriptions was found in the dryer at the Davis house, but the judge excluded this evidence from the original trial because police had failed to obtain a warrant. When the judge in the 2010 hearing said that he was considering allowing the shorts into evidence and ordering DNA testing on what looked like blood spatter evidence found on the shorts, the defense tried to prevent the testing. It seems to me that if Davis wasn't the shooter, they should welcome the testing.

I think there's little doubt that Davis was wearing the white shirt. If he had been wearing the yellow shirt, he would definitely have said so. The fact that he didn't testify to what color shirt he was wearing speaks volumes. This means he was either guilty (most likely) or all the early, untainted witnesses who said the shooter had on a white shirt were wrong, and it was actually the guy in the yellow shirt who was the shooter.

Another thing that has always bothered me about this case is Davis' lack of focus on Coles. If Davis is innocent, Coles is guilty. There is no other possibility. Not only did Coles commit a murder for which Davis was convicted, but Coles was instrumental in helping the prosecution obtain that conviction. I can only imagine my rage if someone did that to me or to one of my friends/relatives. But instead of demanding that Coles turn himself in, imploring Coles' family not to let an innocent man die for the murder Coles committed, and gathering evidence to prove Coles' guilt, Davis and his supporters go on and on about the racist legal system that unjustly convicted him. Never mind that he had a majority black jury and that the only other suspect is also black--it was straight up racism, not Coles' testimony, that's to blame here! Why the lack of anger and outrage at Coles? Could it be because he knows very well that Coles didn't commit this murder?

I think it's very likely that Davis was guilty, but that shouldn't be enough for the death penalty. We need to be certain. And in this case there are just too many unanswered questions. The fact that Troy Davis was executed anyway is an excellent argument against the death penalty.

Emma said...

Anon @ 9:46
Coles said that he started to run, stopped running when McPhail yelled "hold it" and McPhail ran PAST him. McPhail was running from behind the van and the incident took place around the middle of the parking lot, no? So Coles would have been standing around the middle of the parking lot but further to the northwest side since he was running towards the bank, near the back of the van if McPhail had run past him to the scene which I'm imagining was around the middle of the lot nearer the front of the van. He can't have run very far if McPhail ran past him, and he had to have been standing almost in the middle of the lot if he stopped when McPhail yelled and didn't start running until the first shot.

Without the story of the Yellow shirt being changed between Coles and Davis and without the sister having washed it and contradicted her brothers story and her own original story regarding how many other shirts were available, the T-shirt issue would have been clearer. Even still, the testimony of Young and Murray changed somewhat between the night of the incident and the trial, not just the 20 years later testimony, but the original trial, in Part 2 where we read the original testimony and immediately after we read the trial testimony, I noticed changes started happening already. Eventually 7 or 9 witnesses contradicted themselves or recanted, that is more than celebrity pressure, that is some serious doubt.

I think if I were a juror I'd try to look at the case ignoring the color of the t-shirt and see who it points to without t-shirt color being a factor, and then see how the t-shirt color affects it and if it contradicts the rest of the evidence, meaning, I'd be more inclined to believe the rest of the evidence/testimony than the t-shirt and certainly wouldn't want to base my decision only on t-shirt color (if it contradicted everything else) when there is so much confusion around it.

Why Davis and not Coles or both men were convicted of this is a big question here, and that's why I'm interested in past criminal history or run-ins with police etc. that might show some bias against Davis. I wouldn't be surprised if Coles was the one who did it, and I wouldn't be surprised if Davis indeed did it either.

I definitely get what you're saying, Davis may in fact be guilty - only Coles and Collins know now and I am on the fence myself - but there is no definitive way to tell and the doubt is the deciding factor here, your last paragraph sums it up perfectly, that is why I supported Davis and protest his execution.

Anonymous said...

Coles initial statement was that when McPhail ordered 'hold it", he stopped in the middle of the parking lot and McPhail ran past him. This would put McPhail in the middle of the assailants he was pursuing. What cop would do that? Cole put himself within the distance of McPhail as many of the witnesses stated the shooter was at the time of the shooting.

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

I am stringing together a relative timeline of actions, so the various discrepancies are more easily grasped, which may lead to further discovery. I also intend to identify the actions as being attested either before or after the first Coles statement.

Intellectually and intuitively, I am leaning to Davis as the shooter, after having given a fair amount of analysis to the evidence which I've been able to access so far.

Not having seen the complete transcripts of each witness' testimony is discomforting, as I do not trust either the District Judge to have accurately and completely conveyed all meaningful revelations given during this process or the defense attorneys' astuteness in connecting the dots.

While reading the Judge's version of testimony I was several times wishing I could see the original transcriptions. I found the District Judge to be particularly subjective in the case. It was quite evident that he felt it was all a waste of his time.

Also, there are unintentional errors of omission or substitutions. For instance, the Judge wrote Mr. Sapp when he meant Mr. Sams (both are Jeffreys) on the last line he gave of Coles second statement (p.26). Another time there was a series of actions by one witness that clearly conflicted with another, unless the whole of the testimony was not conveyed.

Given what I know about people in general and the police in particular, I would have gone so far to have asked that the original document of Young's early morning statement be tested to prove it's authenticity. That the printed contents within the document have not been tampered with and that the signature by Young is legitimate.

While testing police documents in an investigation might seem far flung, Young's testimony is crucial in fingering Davis as a 'cop killer'; Young was gravely intoxicated and flustered and scared that night; from his description of the interrogation, he was not satisfying the police with his answers, and yet at that time they didn't have much to go on; he has stated that he did not read the papers which he signed and thus his would have been one of the few witness statements which could have been altered with no suspicion by the attestor. His later review of the document would guide his hearing and trial testimony.

I suspect that Young would have later before the hearing received a copy of his statement, either in mail or in person from a member of the District Attorney's office. Of course, the DA's office would not have received the statements until after the Police investigation was completed.

The only pre-Coles statement to include the color Yellow in it is Young's. The only pre-Cole's statement to indicate that the person who struck Young was not the same person with whom Young was arguing is Young's.

If you throw out Young's initial testimony, there is no untainted testimony which clearly contradicts Davis' version of the events other than Coles'.

tsj said...

R. Lee,
I would be interested in seeing your timeline. Please share it with everyone when it's ready.

Moaningisolde said...

2 things: 1. one of the people in the van says THE KILLER was behind when running off, whereas in both Coles' & Davis' accounts, Davis was in front & Coles caught him up. 2. whatever happened to the two men sitting with Ms Murray? Who were they, where did they go, and did they testify?

Anonymous said...

First I'd like to say I appreciate the time and effort you put into this blog and I hope the MacPhail family can find peace after this senseless murder. Like you stated early, I wish I could read the original statements from witnesses, but from what I have read here I believe Davis is guilty. If I was Coles, I would have reported to the police station with a lawyer at my side as well. If I was Davis and was innocent of killing the Officer, I would have screamed from the roof tops since day 1 that Coles is the shooter and I would have immediately reported to the nearest law enforcement agency with lawyer at my side.

I read Darrell Collins statement saying Coles argued with Larry and that he didn't see Davis do anything to Larry. But I don't hear him Collins saying Coles is the shooter not Davis. Did I miss that? That is the one thing I am waiting to hear from Collins. He knows who pulled the trigger Coles or Davis. If he is going to allow Davis to be put to death and not say Coles did it, it is because Davis is the guilty party. I believe the police tampered with witness and may even have planted a bullet casing, but I still believe Davis is the guilty party. As far as reasonable doubt and injustice, I believe Coles should have been jailed along with Davis.

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