Troy Davis Roundup


Here are two stories for you to consider.

One man, 20 years ago, was convicted of murdering an off-duty police officer. The conviction was based on the testimony of nine eyewitnesses, one of whom was also considered a suspect in the killing. There was no forensic or DNA evidence linking the accused to the murder, and later, seven of the nine eyewitnesses would recant their testimony.

Another man, 23 years ago, was convicted of killing a lumber company store manager, beating him with a crowbar and a pot of paint and shooting him three times. He confessed to the murder.

Both were sentenced to death, and both were scheduled to be executed this week. The first story is that of Troy Davis, who was executed last night, maintaining his innocence until the last. The other is Samuel David Crowe, who was spared by the same Board of Pardons and Paroles that refused to spare Troy Davis. Note: Crowe was granted clemency in 2008. My apologies for missing this fact.

I’m glad that Crowe will not be executed. I don’t think that the state should be executing anyone, regardless of how airtight the case against them seems to be, because the chances are too great that we will execute someone who is innocent. Indeed, this case and the case of Cameron Todd Willingham suggest that we already have.

You should also read Jelani Cobb’s reporting in The Atlantic watch this segment from The Ed Show last night where Rachel Maddow describes the great lengths the state of Georgia has gone to in order to continue putting prisoners to death by means of lethal injection.

Brian Spears's first collection of poetry, A Witness in Exile, is now available through Louisiana Literature Press, and at his personal website. He is Senior Poetry Editor at The Rumpus. More from this author →