Troy Davis will finally be able to present evidence of his innocence in a court hearing scheduled for June 30 in Georgia. Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991 for the 1989 murder of off-duty police officer Mark Allan MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia. MacPhail, 27, was shot twice when he rushed to help a homeless man being beaten in a parking lot.
In August 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court sent the Davis case to federal court with instructions for the court to consider testimony to determine if the evidence not heard at the original trial would “clearly establish (Davis’) innocence.”
Since his conviction, seven of the nine prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony, and there are also nine new witnesses for Davis who never testified in the original trial.
Davis’ team contends Sylvester “Red” Coles, who was present at the scene of the MacPhail shooting, learned police were looking for him and accused Davis to shift blame.
To learn more about this case and how to get involved visit: www.justicefortroy.org
President Obama has proclaimed that April 18 through April 24, 2010, is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. During this week, the President has called upon all Americans to participate in events and activities that raise awareness of victims’ rights.
We at TADP want to join with the President to give thanks for all those who work to support victims’ of crime as well as those whose efforts are focused on crime prevention. We encourage all our readers to look into opportutnies within your communities to volunteer in support of all those who have suffered from crime and violence.
TADP continues to believe that our state resources are far better spent on crime prevention programs and support for victims’ and their families than on a wasteful death penalty system that put families through years of agonizing waiting for a sentence to be carried out.
We hope that TADP can continue to listen to and learn from surviving family members of murder in order to find ways to work together to make the system more restorative and healing for those who have suffered much.
Today the Tennessee Supreme Court set an execution of 10:00 p.m., September 28, for Gaile Owens, an inmate on Tennessee’s death row. Gaile was convicted and sentenced to death for the solicitation of the murder of her husband, Ronald Owens, in 1985. The jury that sentenced Gaile to death never heard testimony about the years of domestic abuse she suffered nor of her willingness to plead guilty for a sentence of life in prison.
Now that an execution date has been set, Gaile Owens’ awaits a decision from Governor Bredesen concerning whether or not he will commute her sentence to life in prison.
To sign a petition, requesting that Governor Bredsen commute her death sentence to life, go to www.friendsofgaile.com.
Dr. Amy Sayward and Reverend Stacy Rector will be featured on “MTSU on the Record” with host Gina Logue at 8 a.m. this Sunday, April 18, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and wmot.org) discussing the release of a new book entitled, Tennessee’s New Abolitionists.
Dr. Sayward, chair of the history department at MTSU and Dr. Margaret Vandiver Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Memphis, co-edited this book tracing the history of the anti-death penalty movement in Tennessee as well as providing personal stories from those directly impacted by this policy.
During the interview, Reverend Rector, director of Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, provides information about the current movement to repeal the death penalty in Tennessee and gives her thoughts about the future of the policy. A reflection written by Rector also appears in the book.
TADP will keep you posted about the release date of the book and where it will be available for purchase.
Read more here.
Reverend Matt Randles, Pastor of Headwaters Covenant Church in Helena, Montana, has a great piece in the The Washington Post’s “On Faith” Section. This thoughtful reflection is instructive for all Christians who are wrestling with the issue of the death penalty.
Read it here.
In today’s Chicago Tribune, you can read a powerful story of the love among sisters who have suffered a great deal of tragedy. The article tells the story of two sisters struggling to deal with the brutal murder of their pregnant sister, Nancy Bishop Langert, and her husband, Richard, 20 years ago by a teen-aged intruder.
Nancy’s two sisters, Jennifer Bishop Jenkins, and Jeanne Bishop, have dedicated their lives to honoring their sister’s life through their work to reduce violence, including work to abolish the death penalty and enact tougher gun control laws. The sisters also co-founded the National Organization of Victims of Juvenile Lifers, which has lobbied against parole-granting efforts for juvenile offenders with life sentences, the sentence that their sister and brother-in-law’s killer received.
This is a powerful story of hope, in the face of great tragedy. We all have much to learn from the witness of this family.
Read the story here.
Amnesty International recently released its global death penalty report showing 700 people were executed in 18 countries in 2009 with at least 2,000 people sentenced to death. 179 countries had no executions in 2009. Countries with the highest number of executions were Iran with at least 388, Iraq with at least 120, Saudi Arabia with at least 69, and the United States with 52. China continues to execute more people than the rest of the world combined, but the data is kept secret.
For the first time, there were no reported executions in Europe, and no executions took place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Mongolia for the first time in many years. Burundi and Togo abolished the death penalty in 2009.
The U.S. was the only country in the Americas to carry out an execution. What is wrong with this picture?
The United Nations General Assembly has called for a moratorium on all executions.
You can read the full report here.