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.
Part 4 be here.