Federal appeals court stays execution of
By GREG BLUESTEIN | Associated Press Writer
12:54 PM EDT, October 24, 2008
1989 killing of an off-duty police officer even though several witnesses have changed their accounts of the crime.
Troy Davis, 40, was scheduled to be executed Monday. But the three-judge panel of the 11th
Appeals ordered defense attorneys and prosecutors to draft briefs that address whether
requirements" to pursue the next round of appeals.
testimony, and the doubts about his guilt have won him the support of former President Jimmy Carter and other
"I'm ecstatic. This movement is building and building and building," said Martina Correia,
to crumble the justice system in
Savannah Officer Mark MacPhail was working off-duty as a security guard at a bus station when he rushed to help a
homeless man who had been pistol-whipped at a nearby parking lot. He was shot twice when he approached
and two other men.
fired the gun.
recanted their testimony, three others who did not testify have said Sylvester "Red" Coles — who testified against
Coles refused to talk about the case when contacted by The Associated Press during a 2007 court appearance and has
no listed phone number.
Prosecutors have said the case is closed. In court hearings, they said some of the affidavits repeat what a jury trial
already has heard, while others are irrelevant because they came from witnesses who never testified.
Savannah District Attorney Spencer Lawton also said he doubts the new testimony meets the legal standards for a new
trial. And while the recantations may seem persuasive to some,
manipulation, making it very difficult to believe."
Over the next few months, a divided
pardons board turned down another bid for clemency after considering the case again.
Then, two hours before his scheduled Sept. 23 execution, the Supreme Court issued a stay, sparking a celebration
when it decided against giving
His supporters have tried to ratchet up the public relations campaign by holding rallies in
"great risk of miscarriage of justice."
Lawton, though, contended the real victim of the high-profile campaign has been MacPhail's family. They have lived
through a succession of legal challenges that have also tested "their faith and hope" since
ago, he said.
"For every minute of that time," he said, "Officer MacPhail's family has suffered the agony of uncertainty."
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs