Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Yellow and White Case of Troy Anthony Davis: Part 5

It's another late night / early morning post on the Troy Davis case. I'm so tired I'm not even going to caution you to read the previous posts in this series first, much less provide a link to them. I'm just going to begin abruptly.

I ended the last post by explaining why I would have voted not guilty in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, and by claiming that most of you out there would have voted guilty.

For those of you who took umbrage at my claim, for those of you who think I'm placing myself on morally superior high ground that anyone can easily stand upon, answer just a few questions honestly. Please.

Would you risk letting a cop killer run free? Would you be willing to face the family of the slain officer after the trial and tell them that you were pretty sure the defendant was guilty, but the state didn't quite prove it to you beyond a reasonable doubt.

How about a rapist? Would you turn lose a possible rapist to possibly rape again?

How about a child molester? I've had to deal with accused child molesters. Would you return a possible child molester back into society? We all know they that they can't control themselves, that they will destroy the lives of more innocent children if we do not stop them. Would you turn such a person lose if you were concerned he was guilty but believed the state hadn't quite proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt?

How about a baby killer? Would you turn lose a baby killer if you were only almost certain of his guilt? I've had to deal with an accused baby killer as well. I'm dealing with the case now, in fact.

So I ask you. Would you stand by your oath and vote guilty if and only if the State proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt?

I might. I might indeed stand by my oath, and the thought haunts me. I would be livid that the State had put me in such a position, that they would convince me the defendant was probably guilty but did not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. I would be furious. They would have put me in a position of either defiling the Bill of Rights or allowing a potentially dangerous person to walk free. Would I try to live with the possibility that my Guilty vote would put a possibly innocent person behind bars for eternity, or would I live forever in fear that my Not Guilty vote would lead to terrible harm of yet another innocent bystander? Which would it be?

Here's what I hope I would have the courage to do. I hope I would stand by my oath. I  hope I would stand by the Bill of Rights and accept the consequences, whatever they might be. If the State could not, or carelessly failed to meet its burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, I would not bail them out. They could tell me they speak for the victim, and they could tell me that the family of the victim deserves the justice that only I can bring them, but I hope I would not waver.

Beware prosecutors everywhere. If you allow me on the jury, I will follow my oath. I will stand by the Constitution of the United States and its Bill of Rights. Far too much blood has been spilled to create and defend those rights. Far too many innocent people are in prison today because my fellow jurors failed to respect and honor them.

Let's do this. Put yourself in the place of one of those jurors deliberating the evidence in the Troy Davis case. You have four eye-witnesses identifying Davis in court as the shooter. You have two additional witnesses saying they saw Davis wearing a white T-shirt around the time of the shooting, and two more saying they saw Coles wearing a yellow shirt. You have three other witnesses testifying under oath that Davis confessed to them. You are told repeatedly that none of these people have any reason to lie to you.

Against that, you have Davis and his mother saying he did not wear a white T-shirt that night.

How are you going to vote?

Honestly, how are you going to vote?

Would you vote Not Guilty simply because one of your fellow jurors wouldn't shut up about Coles and his sister not being able to count shirts, because he goes ballistic when you mention the snitch, or because he actually believes four people could all coincidentally pick the same wrong guy out of photo lineups?

When I was younger, I would have probably voted with most of you out there. I'm no longer younger, though. I've been through four criminal juries. I've reviewed many cases. I've worked directly to free innocent people from prison and to keep innocent people from being imprisoned. I've seen too often how the system goes awry, how it hides its dark side from the jury, how it convicts and consumes while wrapping itself in righteousness.

Now that I'm no longer younger, the snitch and the suborned perjury and the miraculous late stage identifications tell me there is much more going on in the background that the State doesn't want us jurors to know. Now that I'm no longer younger, I'll call them on it. I'll vote Not Guilty if I catch them not playing by the rules.

I realize the State is being inconsistent. It is there their [told you I was tired] privilege. They have the ultimate power, but only if we jurors relinquish it to them.

Dorothy Ferrell
Let's consider first the trial testimony of Dorothy Ferrell. I have not spoken of her before. I saved her for now. She was descending the stairs of the Thunderbird Inn when the shooting took place. According to Judge Moore, here's what she testified to in court.
Ms. Ferrell testified at the trial that, on the night of August 18, 1989, she was a guest at the Thunderbird Motel, located across Oglethorpe Avenue from the Burger King. Around 1:00 a.m. on August 19, 1989, she was descending a stairwell at the motel when she heard screaming from the Burger King parking lot. She ran to the sidewalk to get a better view.

From the sidewalk, she saw three men in the Burger King parking lot. As one of the men started running toward the Trust Company Bank property, a police officer entered the parking lot and told the men to stop. As the officer approached, one of the men, who was wearing a light yellow t-shirt, started moving backwards.  Then the third man, who was wearing a white t-shirt and dark shorts, shot the officer. After the officer fell to the ground, the gunman stepped forward, stood over the officer, and fired more bullets at him. 

Finished, the gunman ran toward the Trust Company Bank. At trial, Ms. Ferrell identified Mr. Davis as the individual who shot the officer. Ms. Ferrell also testified that, two days after the shooting, she recognized a photograph of Mr. Davis and identified him as the gunman. According to Ms. Ferrell, she was speaking with a police officer about matters unrelated to the MacPhail shooting when she noticed a photograph of Mr. Davis on the front passenger seat of the officer's cruiser. She informed the officer that she recognized the man in the photograph as Officer MacPhail's murderer. Ms. Ferrell had not seen any pictures of Mr. Davis prior to that identification. A few days later, Ms. Ferrell was shown a photo spread and asked if she recognized the gunman. Ms. Ferrell again identified Mr. Davis. Ms. Ferrell testified that she was pretty confident in the accuracy of her identification.

On cross-examination, Ms. Ferrell testified that the individual in the yellow t-shirt was looking straight at the gunman when he fired the first shot. Ms. Ferrell stated that the gunman passed in front of the Trust Company Bank building while fleeing. She was then impeached with her police statement, in which she claimed that the gunman ran behind the Trust Company bank building.

Ms. Ferrell was also questioned on variations between her police statement and trial testimony regarding when the individuals in the yellow and white t-shirts started running. Finally, Ms. Ferrell admitted that the portion of her police statement recounting how Officer MacPhail had run the shooter off the Burger King property earlier in the day was incorrect. She explained that she had not seen Officer MacPhail run the shooter off the property, only some individuals dressed like the shooter. Ms. Ferrell opined that the inconsistency was due to a misunderstanding by the officer taking her statement. 

Also on cross-examination, Ms. Ferrell was challenged regarding her prior descriptions of the shooter. In her police statement, Ms. Ferrell recalled that the shooter was six feet tall with a narrow face and slender build, while she described the shooter as slightly taller than her height—five feet—and with a medium build when she testified in Recorder's Court. In Recorder's Court, Ms. Ferrell testified that the shooter had lighter colored skin than her. However, Ms. Ferrell admitted that she and Mr. Davis had about the same skin color, while Mr. Coles' skin color was much lighter that hers. Ms. Ferrell did state that she would not describe Mr. Coles' skin color as light, but rather as "red." Also, Ms. Ferrell admitted that, despite testifying in Recorder's Court that the shooter had a narrow face, she never saw the shooter face-on, seeing only his left and right profiles. Finally, Ms. Ferrell testified that she saw Mr. Davis on television prior to her identification of his photograph.

On redirect-examination, Ms. Ferrell explained a few of the inconsistencies between her various statements. Ms. Ferrell clarified that, in Recorder's Court, she stated the shooter was a little taller than Mr. Davis attorney, not a little taller than herself. Also, Ms. Ferrell explained that she did not see only left and right profiles of the gunman's face. While she never observed his face straight on, Ms. Ferrell saw enough of the shooter's face at various angles to recognize that he had a narrow face.

Ms. Ferrell also admitted during cross-examination that she had a number of prior criminal convictions for shoplifting and trespass.
Now let's consider her recantation affidavit, as presented by Amnesty International.
At the trial, Dorothy Ferrell, who was staying at a hotel near the Burger King at the time of the crime, identified Troy Davis as the person who had shot Officer McPhail, emphasizing "I’m real sure, that that is him and, you know, it’s not a mistaken identity".

After the guilt/innocence phase of the trial had ended, the wife of Troy Davis’ defence lawyer received a telephone call from a woman who identified herself as Dorothy Ferrell, and stated that she had lied on the witness stand. The prosecution then revealed that Dorothy Ferrell had written a letter to District Attorney Spencer Lawton requesting "a favor" and his "help" with her own difficulties with the law. She was on parole at the time. She wrote in the letter: "Mr. Lawton if you would please help me, I promise you, you won’t be making a mistake."

After this revelation, Dorothy Ferrell was recalled to the witness stand, outside of the presence of the jury. She denied having made the telephone call, but admitted to having written the letter. The judge then offered the defence the opportunity to cross-examine Dorothy Ferrell in the presence of the jury, but they did not do so, instead calling for a mistrial on the grounds that the prosecution had withheld information from the defence. The trial judge denied their motion for a new trial.

In her affidavit signed in November 2000, Dorothy Ferrell recalled that she had been staying in a hotel opposite the Burger King restaurant on the night of the shooting. She said that she heard a woman scream and gunshots. In her affidavit, she recalls seeing "more than two guys running away", but states that she did not see who the gunman was. After the crime, she was asked to go down to the police station, where she was made to wait until she gave a statement. The affidavit continues:
"I was real tired because it was the middle of the night and I was pregnant too… I was scared that if I didn’t do what the police wanted me to do, then they would try to lock me up again. I was on parole at the time and I had just gotten home from being locked up earlier that year.

When the police were talking to me, it was like they wanted me to say I saw the shooting and to sign a statement. I wanted to be able to leave and so I just said what they wanted me to say. I thought that would be the end of it, but it turned out not to be the end."
Sometime later, a police detective visited Dorothy Ferrell and showed her a photograph of Troy Davis, and told her that other witnesses had identified him as the gunman:
"From the way the officer was talking, he gave me the impression that I should say that Troy Davis was the one who shot the officer like the other witness [sic] had… I felt like I was just following the rest of the witnesses. I also felt like I had to cooperate with the officer because of my being on parole…I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn’t see who shot the officer."
In her affidavit, Dorothy Ferrell recalls her fear that if she did not repeat her statement at the trial, she would be charged with perjury and "sent back to jail". She says that she spoke to two lawyers who said that she could be so charged and could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.
"I had four children at that time, and I was taking care of them myself. I couldn’t go back to jail. I felt like I didn’t have any choice but to get up there and testify to what I said in my earlier statements. So that’s what I did."
On the question of the telephone call made to Troy Davis’ defence counsel at the time of the trial, Dorothy Ferrell’s affidavit adds that:
"I didn’t make that call to the house of the attorney but my friend made the call after she and I had talked. I told my friend about how I had testified to things that weren’t the truth and I was feeling bad about it. That’s why she made the call."
Darrell Collins
Darrell Collins was the third of three individuals who followed Larry Young back from the convenience stores. I did not speak of him before because it seems clear that he did not harass or assault Larry Young or shoot Officer MacPhail. I held him back, and I discuss his courtroom testimony now, as I understand it from Judge Moore's decision.
Darrell Collins was the third individual involved in the altercation with Larry Young. At trial, he testified that Mr. Davis was wearing the white shirt and assaulted Larry Young. According to Mr. Davis, Darrell Collins has since recanted the latter portion of that testimony, which was originally secured through police coercion.  In statements that Mr. Collins gave to the police in the days following the shootings, he stated that Mr. Davis was responsible for the Cloverdale shooting, struck Larry Young on the head, and wore a white shirt on the night of the incidents.

At the trial, Mr. Collins reaffirmed that Mr. Davis was wearing the white shirt and assaulted Mr. Young. However, Mr. Collins testified that he lied about Mr. Davis' involvement in the Cloverdale shooting due to police intimidation.  In his recantation affidavit, Mr. Collins claimed a second lie -- that he never saw Mr. Davis strike Larry Young. He averred that he was comfortable revealing the first lie at trial but not the second because he felt the police cared more about whether Mr. Davis assaulted Mr. Young than Mr. Davis' responsibility for the Cloverdale shooting. At the hearing, Mr. Collins again claimed that he lied about both the assault on Larry Young and the Cloverdale incident due to police coercion. Specifically, he claims that he simply parroted what the police told him to say. However, he did not recant his earlier testimony that Mr. Davis was wearing the white shirt on the night of the shootings.

Mr. Collins testimony is neither credible nor a full recantation. First, regardless of the recantation, Mr. Collins' previous testimony, that has never been unequivocally recanted, still provides significant evidence of Mr. Davis' guilt by placing him in the white shirt.

Second, if Mr. Collins' claim that he simply parroted false statements fed to him by police is truthful, query why Mr. Collins never directly identified Mr. Davis as Officer MacPhail's murderer. Surely, this would have been the best available false testimony, and given Mr. Collins' proximity to the murder it would have been as reasonable as any other false testimony.

Third, there was credible testimony from Officer Sweeney and Mr. Lock that Mr. Collins' testimony was not coerced.

Fourth, Mr. Collins generally lacked credibility, testifying to an implausible version of events: that he was less than ten feet from Larry Young when the assault occurred and did not turn away from the confrontation until Officer MacPhail arrived, but saw nothing. Given the close proximity, it would be safe to assume that surely Mr. Collins saw either Mr. Coles or Mr. Davis strike Mr. Young -- not that Mr. Coles simply saw nothing.

Because Mr. Collins continues to provide evidence of Mr. Davis' guilt and his recantation is not credible, his testimony does not diminish the State's case.
Judge Moore does not include in his decision verbatim text from the recantation affidavits. As a public service, I will present some verbatim text from Darrell Collins' affidavit, as provided by Amnesty International.
Darrell Collins was a friend of Troy Davis who was with him on the night of the crime. At the time, he was 16 years old. In his affidavit he said that the day after the shooting, 15 or 20 police officers came to his house, "a lot of them had their guns drawn". They took him in for questioning, and the affidavit continues:
"When I got to the barracks, the police put me in a small room and some detectives came in and started yelling at me, telling me that I knew that Troy Davis…killed that officer by the Burger King. I told them that… I didn’t see Troy do nothing. They got real mad when I said this and started getting in my face. They were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would pay like Troy was gonna pay if I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear.

They told me that I would go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed… I didn’t want to go to jail because I didn’t do nothing wrong. I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail. They kept saying that…[Troy] had messed with that man up at Burger King and killed that officer. I told them that it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn’t want to hear that…

After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said."
Darrell Collins said that he signed a typed statement without reading it, and was then allowed to go home. According to his affidavit, he was questioned again about a week later by the police who gave him another typed statement to sign. He said he again signed the statement without reading it. The affidavit continues:
"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."
Kevin McQueen
I'm going to wrap up this series up with the snitch, Kevin McQueen. Let's see what Judge Moore had to say about good ol' Kevin McQueen's testimony and recantation.
Kevin McQueen was the "jail house snitch." At trial, his testimony was used to relate Mr. Davis' confession to the MacPhail murder. Mr. Davis contends that Mr. McQueen admits his prior testimony was a "complete fabrication."

At trial, Mr. McQueen claimed that Mr. Davis confessed the following events to him. Mr. Davis began his night by shooting at the group from Yamacraw -- the Cloverdale shooting. Mr. Davis then went to his girlfriend's house for a time, and later to the Burger King to eat breakfast. While at Burger King, Mr. Davis ran into someone who "owed [him] money to buy dope." There was a fight regarding the drug money, and when Officer MacPhail came over, Mr. Davis shot him.

At the hearing before this Court, Mr. McQueen testified that there was "no truth" to his trial testimony. He claimed that he fabricated the testimony to get revenge on Mr. Davis for an altercation in the jail and because he received benefits from the State. Mr. McQueen put the same recantation into an affidavit on December 5, 1996, but stated his only reason for testifying falsely was the altercation between he and Mr. Davis. Other than claiming that Mr. Davis was guilty of both the MacPhail murder and Cloverdale shooting, Mr. McQueen's trial testimony totally contradicts the events of the night as described by numerous other State witnesses. Indeed, while other witnesses described a fight over alcohol, Mr. McQueen described a fight over drugs; and while other witnesses claimed Mr. Davis went to shoot pool immediately prior to the murder, Mr. McQueen claimed Mr. Davis went to get breakfast. These inconsistencies make it clear that Mr. McQueen's trial testimony was false, a fact confirmed by Mr. McQueen's recantation. Given that Mr. McQueen's trial testimony was so clearly fabricated, and was actually contrary to the State's theory of the case, it is unclear why the State persists in trying to support its veracity. Regardless, the recantation is credible, with the exception of the allegation of prosecutorial inducements, but only minimally reduces the State's showing at trial given the obviously false nature of the trial testimony.
I believe that says it all. I'm finally ready to take a position on the impending execution of Troy Anthony Davis.

I oppose it. 


Mark said...

I'm actually more convinced after reading your analysis that Davis is guilty. I agree that the person in the white shirt shot MacPhail. There is enough eye witness testimony given in the immediate hours after the murder to confirm this to be true. It is very surprising given the amount of witnesses who can describe the events in such detail that none of them can positively identify one or the other in a credible fashion as being the person wearing the white shirt.

I believe that this is not that different from a the OJ Simpson case in that the intense pressure to solve the murder caused the police to manipulate the facts and witnesses to implicate the guilty party because they were short on evidence. I wouldn't be surprised if they planted the shell casing near the scene to tie it to the Cloverdale shooting.

Certain facts remain though...more people have fingered Davis as the man in a white shirt, both at the party and at the scene. The bum's girlfriend identified Coles as the man in the yellow shirt. While the whole switching shirts thing is fishy, it doesn't necessarily implicate Coles as manipulating the evidence. What does it prove that he says Davis showed up shirtless and tried on the yellow shirt for a moment before taking it off? Nothing really and could very easily be the truth. If Davis had kept the shirt and then it was identified later as in his possession then it would be real evidence that Coles lied and tried to implicate Davis as the person wearing the white shirt.

At the end of the day, I believe the police slightly more then Davis's friends and family. Darrell Collins is completely unbelievable at this point as to switching his story. His original story makes more sense then his recantation.

Obviously the police could have completely framed this guy and that is what the defense is hoping for but in my heart of hearts it doesn't seem like they would be any more likely to want to frame a guy like Davis over a guy like Coles who they had down in their precinct making a statement that he was there and involved in the incident.

Seems to me like this is a good reason to get rid of the death penalty but I don't think Davis is innocent. The evidence implicates him even though it is unclear given all the conflicting testimony through the last 20+ years.

tsj said...

The problem is that people have to decide between the police and the street people about who lied about coercion. We wouldn't have that problem if the police would record their damn interviews, but they won't, and I hold that against them.

Witness testimony is for some reason the only testimony we are allowed to destroy. We only make notes or verbal claims later. We don't accurately preserve what people say.

This sort of behavior would not be tolerated with physical evidence.

"The DNA said the defendant is guilty. I didn't preserve the results, so you'll just have to trust me that's what the test said. I'm offended that you now question my integrity."

Anonymous said...

tsj, thanks for your thorough and timely contributions to this case.

Anonymous said...

After reviewing the evidence presented here, I am unsure a to who actually held the gun and pulled the trigger. This having been said, as far as I see it, Mr. Davis, by his own account was at the scene and was involved in the altercation. Given that he was present in the actions leading up to and including those at the scene and made no attempt to stop it (if he was,in fact, not the shooter), he is therefore an accessory and should face the death penalty as if he himself had pulled the trigger.

Anonymous said...

Until I read your Blog I was suspect of Troy Davis, but then I never had the in depth details that you presented here. I'm not a big fan of the death penalty, yet I'm not a big fan of heartless killing either; When I hear of someone being executed (and it seems I'm hearing it a lot these days)and the evidence shows beyond the shadow of a doubt that this person is guilty, I can't show full sympathy for that loss of life compared to the one that person took. If there was any case of murder that deserves to be tried again, it is this one. Why it won't be is that the prosecution runs the risk of a lesser verdict... But it is in fact because of that risk why the state of GA should do the moral and human thing and fore go this deadly punishment.

AnonX said...

This case should only attest that death row laws need to be changed. Outside of that, Troy Davis killed that cop. I agree with most of judge's analysis on the recantations. Between reading what's on this site, the federal documents and 1991 newspaper accounts I came to the conclusion that Troy Davis is guilty. What I consider reliable is 1)Harriet Murrey's testimony that the same person that hit Larry with the gun shot the cop and she reitereated that in her unsigned, unsworn affadavit. 2.)Lt. Colas the airforce man never recanted. He said he was sure that the guy with the white shirt shot the cop. 3.)2 other passengers with Colas said within hours of the shooting, that a man with a light colored hat and shirt with dark pants shot the cop. 4.)Driver of the van said that a man in a white shirt shot the cop. 5.)Darrell Collins who was with Troy for most of the night said Troy had on a white shirt which he did not recant on. 6.)Larry the homeless guy confirmed that he first started arguing with a man in a yellow shirt. 7.)Coles sister saw him with the yellow shirt on and turned it in to police. 8.)Davis and Coles say that Coles initially was arguing with the homeless man.

Anonymous said...

What people keep forgetting is after the shooting of the officer, Davis went home, hid the shorts he was wearing and fled to Atlanta. The police seized the shorts without a warrant and it was excluded at trial. Davis either did it or knows who did it. Davis was present at two shootings in one day. Yet we are to believe he knows nothing ? If Davis is so innocent, why didn't he turn the real perp in at the first shooting ? If he had maybe there would not have been a second shooting. All of that said, I think the death penalty is flawed and racist. Had it been a black officer, there would be no death penalty involved.

Malcolm Tent said...

Agreed. Davis' actions with his own clothing which his defense team moved to have suppressed, in addition to the ballistics match from Davis' prior murder in addition to his flight offer far more than the eye-witness testimony (which in my estimation still adds significant detail).

What we have is two men, both seeking to cover their own asses. One ultimately ponied up his clothing, the other moved to suppress the findings from his clothing. One showed up at the police station, the other skipped town. One was not implicated in a prior shooting that evening, the other was tied and convicted of that crime and the ballistics from that crime matched the officer's shooting. One showed up at a house later wearing a yellow shirt, the other showed up with no shirt on (presumably discarded along with said weapon).

Given the convenient fashion in which you sculpt the narrative, yes, by all means there is reasonable doubt. But when you broaden the frame and include the entire story Troy Davis' guilt passes the sniff test.

Malcolm Tent said...

Consider also that there were many more witnesses that you chose to cherry-pick through and you'll find that your narrative is quite shallow, though I appreciate your sounding board.

Let me see if I can sum up the Troy Davis defense succinctly...

Mr. Coles shot the officer, then quickly fabricated a story with his sister which did not include an alibi, but rather instead sinisterly focused on a wardrobe change that they had no forewarning would be so substantial. They then masterminded a plan to hand Davis' shirt to the police in an effort to provide their own version of events and then frame up Davis in a fake series of events. The police, now in a tizzy and with knee-jerk reaction then rounded up a series of innocent ignorant bystanders and brow-beat them into falsifying testimony, continued to lean on these witnesses for two years until the trial occurred at which time all of the witnesses still feared for their freedom and dutifully offered fake testimony to a majority black jury who ruled then found Davis guilty because their were 7 black jurors that were very biased against the black man. Then, after 22 years, numerous judges who are intimately familiar with the case including the Supreme Court of the United States all had such a raging hard-on for Troy Davis that they all became complicit in the erroneous execution of an innocent man.

Would you care to buy the Brooklyn Bridge? I'll cut you a sweet deal on it.

Catherine Turley said...

it really does seem simple now. on post three, i pointed out what anonx did. troy admits coles was the one arguing with young. none of the witnesses need to identify anyone as long as they concur that the one arguing was not the one who assaulted. collins is the only other candidate, and for whatever reason, he is not considered at all. it would have to have been troy.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

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.

Anonymous said...

What was Troy Davis last words? Look at them closely. He never denied he was not there, he knew who shot the officer. By law he is just as guilty as if he pulled the trigger, if he didn't actually do it.

Anonymous said...

Our judicial system is flawed. Its a sad situation on all parties including the American people as a whole. I don't know who committed the murder but it seems that way across the board. Its crazy to listen to people gain satisfaction out of someone being killed. My heart goes out to both families. I dont believe that anyone should ever be executed, murdered, put to sleep (whatever you want to call it) when there is so much doubt. The case has/had so many red flags and question marks. There were not enough facts to make a solid and conclusive decision. Hopefully now laws will be changed regarding capital punishment... clearly we see that it is hard to convict someone solely on witness testimony.

Jeff Cox said...

First, I want to thank Skeptical Juror for posting all this analysis of the Troy Davis case. I'm going to bookmark this site and enjoy the other analyses offered here. Good work.

That said, I disagree with your conclusions on the Davis case as expressed in your posts. I know that you've tried to simplify the case and I appreciate that, but I think you've still made it too complicated, specifically with reference to the shirt-switching. Maybe I'm missing something, but this is how I see it:

1. Davis and Coles were present at the shooting, by their own admission.
2. One was wearing a white shirt, the other a yellow shirt.
3. The eyewitnesses agree (though this case is another exhibit as to the inherent unreliability of eyewitness testimony) that the shooter was wearing a white shirt.
4. Coles produced the (or at least A) yellow shirt.

5. Davis must have been wearing the white shirt.

Now, the dubious shirt exchange becomes probative if it was actually Davis who was wearing the yellow shirt and he gave it to Coles. But your posts do not indicate that such a scenario was alleged, only that Coles was lying about the shirt exchange, though the exact nature of that lie was is not addressed.

So, the logic of the conviction is as I explained above. Where am I going wrong?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if, in all those years on death row, Mr. Davis actually lived longer than he would have on the streets?

Anonymous said...

The harping on the yellow shirt switching is nothing more than an attempt to create some smoke to try to cloud the irrefutable evidence in this case that Davis was the guilty party.

The Davis team had nothing more than a disingenuous public relations campaign to save a guilty man from his punishment.

Before you try to make Davis a victim, what about the real victim and his family? Do they not deserve justice? Do they not deserve some finality?

Anonymous said...

SJ: Where is your timeline for Davis's story? Critical to this is that Davis was judged by a jury of his peers. By evaluating the evidence you have given, Davis is unquestionably guilty. The nature of his testimony is completely different than everyone else's, painting himself as some sort of hero, doing everything he can to prevent the tragedy, and always far away from events as they happened. All the other testimony is short, matter-of-fact, and very subjective. Coles testimony contrasts with Davis's particularly in that regard.

Most importantly--as I understand it, and let me emphasize that, because it is confusing--is that Davis's stroy is inconsistent with everyone else's in its most critical point, which is that Yellow Shirt was the original agressor, but that White Shirt pulled the trigger. In Davis's story--again, as I understand it--Coles was guilty of both being the original "give me a beer" agressor AND the shooter, which, as I understand it, is not possible unless everyone else is wrong, and wrong in exactly the same way.

If I were on the jury, these two aspects--if I understand them correctly--would make it clear that Davis was guilty.

Anonymous said...

They do deserve that, but not at the expense of someone who may be innocent.

Anonymous said...

The point is..there is doubt therefore the state did not PROVE his GUilt inorder to murder him.
Who said the white shirt? Dorothy did and she just said whatever she wanted. I have been in those parts before and would not credit nobody's testimony because nobody in those areas what the police sniffing around their homes and in their business.

1. who did troy say killed the ooficer?
2. What did the homeless man say
3. What did the man say who was hit in the head?

Anonymous said...

1. Troy said Coles killed the officer

2. and 3. The homeless man was hit in the head, and he said he was too drunk and disoriented to know what was going on and really has no idea who fired the gun.

The police held the homeless man, who did nothing wrong in this incident, for several hours denying him medical attention for the gash on his head just so they could get a coerced statement from him.

I agree that none of this testimony deserves much credit when most or all the witnesses report extreme pressure from the police to incriminate one person, and most of these testimonies are either really vague or lack all credibility.

Anonymous said...

Why would Troy Davis leave Savannah after a shooting where he and Darryl Collings were?
If he didn't do it and Sylvester Coles might have- would he not go give a statement to the police.
And indeed wasn't Davis according to his trial testimony trying to help the homeless man by telling Coles to back off.
Given the time period from the start of eyewitness reports to him turning himself in a few days later in my opinion was sealing his fate.
Sylvester Coles went to the police the next evening with a lawyer.
Wouldn't the police want to get the right cop killer off the streets.
If Davis is innocent and Coles is the real killer- he has been running free for years.
Makes zero sense to me the police were so content on it being Davis.
A cop killer is a different breed and is capable of anything.
So why did Davis's lawyers not subpoena Coles when they had the chance before going to court with Judge Moore?
Something stinks in suburbia.

Unknown said...

They could have been worried Davis wouldn't be believed. The guy had a record I think.

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