" It was in August 2009 and, in an almost-unprecedented ruling, ordered a federal judge in Savannah to convene a hearing and hear the new evidence. The protest over the doubts in this case and the death sentence has been sparse. Why did we wait so long ? Are we too late ? "
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Thursday was given petitions with more than 663,000 names of people asking that Troy Anthony Davis be spared from being executed next Wednesday, saying there is too much doubt he killed a Savannah police officer in 1989.
Since the 1991 trial, a number of key prosecution witnesses have either recanted or backed off testimony that implicated Davis as the killer. Davis' attempts to get a hearing on his new claims were thwarted for years until the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in August 2009 and, in an almost-unprecedented ruling, ordered a federal judge in Savannah to convene a hearing and hear the new evidence.
U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. heard two days of testimony and ultimately ruled Davis could not clearly establish his innocence. Davis appealed but the Supreme Court turned him down earlier this year.
Davis' supporters, led by Amnesty International and the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, appeared at the board's offices and handed over 15 boxes filled with petitions, Amnesty Laura Moye said. The board, which will hear Davis' clemency petition Monday, also was given letters signed by more than 1,500 legal professionals, more than 3,300 religious leaders, 26 death-row exonerees and 110 relatives of murder victims asking for Davis' execution to be halted.