Urgent Call to End Death Penalty Marks 5th Anniversary of Troy Davis Execution

posted Sep 20, 2016, 8:40 AM by Kathryn Hamoudah

Urgent Call to End Death Penalty Marks 5th Anniversary of Troy Davis Execution


ATLANTA – Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (GFADP) will mark the 5th anniversary of the execution of Troy Anthony Davis on September 21, 2016 with an urgent call to abolish the death penalty.


Troy Davis was convicted in 1991 for the 1989 murder of a Savannah, Georgia police officer, Mark Allen MacPhail, and given a death sentence, largely because of the testimony of eyewitnesses.  No murder weapon was ever uncovered, nor was any material evidence that Troy had shot Officer MacPhail, who was off-duty and working as a security guard.  Troy’s execution went forward despite major doubts about evidence used to convict Troy of killing Mark MacPhail, including the recantation of seven of the nine non-police witnesses. 


Troy Davis’s case highlighted many of the problems in our legal system surrounding capital punishment, including the risk of executing an innocent person. Since 1973, 156 people have been released from death row with evidence of their innocence.  


The I AM TROY DAVIS movement, spearheaded by Troy Davis’s sister and biggest champion, Martina Davis-Correia, saw thousands of Georgians take to the streets and to social media, joining millions from around the world in calling for a halt to Troy’s execution, as well as for a new trial for Troy.  World leaders and other prominent figures and organizations, including Amnesty International, NAACP, President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and Norman Fletcher, Former Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, raised their voices for Troy Davis.  Hundreds of thousands of petitions and letters were sent to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles asking that they grant clemency to Troy.  Despite these valiant efforts, Troy Anthony Davis was executed at 11:08 pm on September 21, 2011.


The momentum of the movement to stop Troy’s execution has carried forward into 2016 with a renewed sense of urgency to abolish the death penalty.  The same judicial system that killed Troy Davis is completely and utterly broken, yet it remains in place.  Over seventy people remain on death row in Georgia, and just under 3,000 people are under death sentences nationwide.  Time is of the essence to halt their executions. 


Georgia is currently one of only three states in 2016 continuing to carry out executions in an era when both state and national trends surrounding the death penalty have shown a significant downturn.  Georgia hasn’t sentenced anyone to death in over two years and prosecutors here are rarely seeking death sentences, yet we find ourselves in a moment when executions are surging upward.  In 2016, Georgia has carried out six executions, more than in any previous calendar year since executions were allowed to resume in 1976.  This slew of executions is upsetting and horrifying, and not at all in touch with the momentum away from the death penalty in Georgia and the rest of the nation.


The anniversary of Troy Davis’s execution is an opportunity to honor his life and all of those who fought for him by renewing our commitment to the abolition of the death penalty, at a critical time of a disturbing resurgence of executions in Georgia.  The system of capital punishment is broken beyond repair, and it continues to be riddled with problems, including racial bias, inadequate legal resources and representation, exorbitant costs, failure to serve as a deterrent to violent crime, and the possibility of executing an innocent person, as the case of Troy Davis demonstrated with a devastating outcome.  All of our voices are urgently needed to spread the word about these profound injustices, and to stop executions once and for all.


All people of conscience in Georgia are invited to join GFADP members at two events on September 21, 2016, the 5th anniversary of Troy Davis’s execution, as we call, once again, for an end to the death penalty:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 10:00 AM

Location: Liberty Plaza, behind the Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington St SW, Atlanta

Rally at our state Capitol featuring leaders from Georgia faith communities calling for a ban on capital punishment in Georgia.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016, 7:00-9:00 PM

Location: Elevator Factory, 437 Memorial Dr SE, Unit A-2, Atlanta

A multimedia event hosted by Amnesty International-Atlanta, including visual memories, classical sounds, and compassionate conversation. Featuring speakers on the topics of the death penalty, deadly force and gun violence.  

Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is the statewide coalition of concerned organizations and individuals working for greater fairness in Georgia's criminal justice system and an end to capital punishment.