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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

  • Fate of Troy Anthony Davis Hangs in the Balance as Supporters Seek Last-Minute Halt to Execution

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    The State of Georgia is preparing to execute Troy Anthony Davis in one of the most high-profile executions in the United States in years. Davis is scheduled to be killed by lethal ejection at 7:00 p.m. EDT, one day after the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected clemency. Democracy Now! will air a special broadcast from outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EDT. Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of off-duty white police officer Mark MacPhail. Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony, and there is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime scene. In a new development, Davis has asked state prison officials and the pardons board to allow him to take a polygraph test today. Some supporters of Davis are now calling for a general strike or "sick out" by the staff at the Georgia prison where the execution is set to occur. We speak with Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, and Robert Rooks, the director of the NAACP’s Criminal Justice Program. "I have been working on the death penalty for more than 30 years," Cox says. "I’ve never seen a case where there is so much significant doubt about the guilt or innocence of the person that the state of Georgia wants to put to death." Rooks, who met with Davis in prison on Tuesday, says Davis is holding out hope to remain alive but says the fight against the death penalty should continue no matter the outcome. "You have a choice," Rooks quotes Davis as saying. "’You can either fold up your bags after tomorrow and go home, or you can stand and continue this fight." [includes rush transcript]

  • Grandson of Murdered Detective/Father of Slain Daughter Speaks Out for Troy Davis, Against Execution

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    The campaign to halt the execution of Troy Anthony Davis has brought together a diverse group of people, including many whose lives have been affected by murder. Twenty-nine years ago, Atlanta resident John Starbuck lost his grandfather to murder. In a terrible twist of fate, Starbuck’s daughter, Meleia Willis-Starbuck, was also murdered years later in 2005. In the face of extreme tragedy, Starbuck has now devoted much of his life to working on restorative justice—a way of healing through reconciliation. He is a member of Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Last week, Starbuck helped deliver a letter to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles that was signed by 110 murder victim family members and called on the board to grant clemency to Davis. John Starbuck joins us along with Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA. [includes rush transcript]

  • "Troy Davis, I Have Been Where You Are": Ex-Death Rowers Fight System that Nearly Took Their Lives

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    As last-minute efforts are made to stay the execution of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Anthony Davis, we speak with two former death row prisoners who have since been released. Darby Tillis was freed in 1987 after new evidence emerged about his decade-old case. Fourteen years later, Tillis was pardoned based on actual innocence, making him one of the first death row prisoners to be exonerated. We are also joined by Lawrence Hayes, who was a death row inmate in New York before the U.S. Supreme Court suspended capital punishment in 1972. Hayes was paroled in 1991 after 20 years in prison and since then has become a spokesman against the death penalty. [includes rush transcript]