Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Background on Troy Davis Case, by Mary Neal

Updated September 5, 2012, with a petition for re-investigation of Officer MacPhail's murder, addressed to Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Department of Justice. (This article has eleven(11) links)

Petition to re-investigate the murder of Officer MacPhail 

Hear Troy Davis's last words, uttered on September 21, 2011, affirming his innocence and carrying his final request: 

"All I can ask is that each of you look deeper into this case, so that you really will finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends that you all continue to pray, that you all continue to forgive. Continue to fight this fight.For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on all of your souls. God bless you all."

Troy Davis' Last Words Released By Georgia Department Of Corrections (AUDIO).

Troy Davis execution goes ahead despite serious doubts about his guilt.

Troy Davis, In His Final Words, "I Am Innocent" (AUDIO)

Troy Davis Execution: I am innocent - final words

March 2010

I AM ALARMED FOR JUSTICE when I have unusual amounts of trouble posting articles about particular inmates. It is ordinary for me to experience a certain amount of difficulty publishing anything to give Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill or help secure Human Rights for Prisoners, but I have an unusual amount of difficulty advocating for Troy Anthony Davis, a Georgia death row inmate. Troy Davis and I have many commonalities, and chief among them is that we both wish for a just day in a fair court. We are both gagged - censored. Although many people have strong feelings for or against Troy Davis, they may know little about what that led to his wrongful conviction. Below is a summary of events that led to Officer MacPhail's death and Troy Davis' conviction as his killer. Officer MacPhail was a hero. He died while attemtping to rescue a homeless man who might be mentally ill from someone who was harassing and threatening him. Officer MacPhail deserves to have daylight shed on his murder and the right person prosecuted for his death. Only a new trial for Troy Davis can do that. See the background on the State of Georgia vs. Troy Anthony Davis matter as laid out in Wikipedia.

Anyone would think that because the murder victim was a police officer, officials would be even more careful than usual to ensure that the right person is punished. However, I have discovered that in Georgia, a well-connected attorney can get outcomes that defy decency, justice, and common sense. It is too bad Davis probably lacked the finances to hire an influential attorney like Sylvester Coles did.when the police first began their inquiry about the officer's murder.

ON AUGUST 19, 1989, MARK MacPHAIL, an off-duty policeman, was working as a security guard at a Burger King restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. The incident started when Sylvester “Redd” Coles began harassing a homeless man, Larry Young, for a beer while Troy Davis and others watched quietly from a distance.  Coles verbally harassed and chased the homeless man to a nearby parking lot where MacPhail was working. Coles threatened the retreating homeless man by exclaiming: “You don’t know me. Don’t walk away from me. I’ll shoot you.” Davis and others silently followed the scuffle. The homeless man yelled for help and MacPhail responded and was shot dead with a .38 caliber weapon. The parking lot was dark and the scene was chaotic.

Coles initially lied about carrying the .38 caliber revolver, but later admitted to carrying it with him on the night of the murder. He claimed that it was lost when the police attempted to recover the gun for testing.

After the police swarmed his neighborhood looking for suspects, Redd Coles and his attorney approached the police to exonerate Coles and implicate Troy Davis. Before the police discovered Coles' lies, however, the police had issued an arrest warrant for Davis without corroborating any part of Coles’ story.  After the warrant was issued, Davis’ picture was plastered on wanted posters and in the local Savannah media. Davis stated that Coles had shot MacPhail.  The police search of Davis' house less than 24 hours after the shooting turned up no gun.

The police never searched Coles’ house for the murder weapon, never included Coles’ picture in witness photo spreads, and paraded Coles in front of four State witnesses as a mere bystander in a crime scene “reenactment.”  

Reference: "The shooting of Officer MacPhail" (Wikipedia 2010):


Petition to re-investigate the murder of Officer MacPhail 

Keep in mind that there were other young men at the scene, also - not just Troy Davis and Sylvester Coles. Wikipedia describes the scene as being dark and chaotic.

Poor Troy. Not only did Troy not hurry and get an attorney before Officer MacPhail's body got cold like Coles did, but Troy had inadequate defense during a time of major budget cuts for public defenders. There was a severe shortage of personnel to investigate the capital murder charge and defend Davis. For instance, the appeals attorney Troy was assigned had 79 other cases she was trying to handle simultaneous to Troy's.

And how do you like that police investigation? That's not how they do it on television shows, is it? TV detectives corroborate everyone's story who is at the scene of a crime. They would be particularly careful to substantiate accounts by someone like Coles, who admitted to lying to police about having a .38, the type of gun that killed Officer MacPhail. TV cops would have searched Coles' property, and all the young men at the scene would have been suspects until they could be eliminated by evidence. Sherlock Holmes would not have limited his search to the home of the guy Coles and his attorney implicated. I suppose Savannah police don't watch enough Columbo.

Hopefully, the USDC judge who is charged by the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Davis will be allowed a new trial will decide that Officer MacPhail, Troy Davis, and millions who care about justice should have an opportunity to have the new evidence in this case heard. I pray the United States District Court agrees that nothing less than absolute guilt should be proved before executing anyone. As it stands, there is reasonable doubt of Troy's guilt even without a new trial. Troy Davis is under a gag order and cannot share any information with the public about his case, including new evidence that he feels should clear his name. He has been denied a new trial repeatedly for years, which would shed light on all facets of this case. Troy Davis and Officer MacPhail deserve crystal clarity in this matter.

As God said, "Let there be light."

Petition to re-investigate the murder of Officer MacPhail 

MARCH 2011 UPDATE:  In August 2010, Judge William T. Moore, Jr. of United States District Court ruled that Troy Davis failed to prove his innocence in the 1980 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail and will not get a new trial. The court denied Troy Davis' request for a new trial before a jury of his peers. Regarding the hearing before Judge Moore, Wikipedia reports, "Davis did not take the stand in his defense and did not call Sylvester Coles as a witness. He also did not call some of the other witnesses who had given affidavits on his behalf, even though some of them were present in the courthouse." SavannahNow.com reported, "A month later, Davis' appellate team filed a motion seeking to re-open the record because they argued Judge Moore had improperly barred several witnesses. Attorneys with the attorney general’s office opposed the move, arguing Davis’ lawyers made strategic decisions not to call certain witnesses and should not now be allowed to benefit from their choices." On March 28, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Troy Davis' final appeal. The only thing stopping Troy Davis' execution now is Georgia's lack of sodium thiopental - an anesthesia that comprises one of the three shots used during lethal injections.

SEPTEMBER 2011 UPDATE: Troy Anthony Davis was killed by lethal injection on September 21, 2011.

Please sign the petition at the link below for a new investigation into Officer MacPhail's murder, and share it with online groups. If the world's largest justice quest can be ended simply by killing the principal, no justice quests will be regarded as being more than children's tantrums in the future. Let us "keep fighting this fight"  for the sake of Troy Davis and everyone who is or will be death row inmates without proof of guilt. Google "Troy Davis Mary Neal" for more articles by this writer. (This article has eleven(11) links)

Petition to re-investigate the murder of Officer MacPhail 

Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
Website: http://wrongfuldeathoflarryneal.com/


Anonymous said...

Ms.Neal-This is one of the best written and most informative articles I've read about Mr. Davis-and I've read alot about his case. Good luck with your organization, and may God allow the truth to be known (to all) in Troy's case, and set him free!

MaryLovesJustice Neal said...

Thanks for your comment, Rebecca, and your compliment. Please see more articles by this writer regarding fairness for Troy Davis at this link:


May God bless us all with truth and justice in this matter, which cannot happen without a new trial.


MaryLovesJustice Neal said...

The cyberstalkers who were hired to monitor and censor my Internet input 24/7 sometimes allow me to tweet people after I complain at my blogs or other online sites. Thank you, cyberdogs, for allowing me to respond to @ImJohnnyKelley after complaining at this article, "Background on Troy Davis Case, by Mary Neal."

Kelley is a Christian evangelist, and my attempts to correspond online with Christians, African Americans, and prisoner activists are viciously attacked to prevent disclosure about Larry Neal, my mentally, physically disabled brother who was murdered after 18 days of secret incarceration in Memphis/Shelby County Jail in 2003 while the facility was under overview by United States Department of Justice, a very unjust federal agency.

Thanks to everyone who helps overcome censorship about Larry's murder and other victims I write about in my blogs and articles. Share the links, or copy and paste the entire article on your websites or print them in your publications. Human/civil rights organizations, churches, or individuals who would like for me to write an article about your justice quest or have questions about mine, please TRY to call 678.531.0262 or email me at MaryLovesJustice@gmail.com


Mary Neal

Anonymous said...

Troy Davis was convicted by a jury of his peers in the face of overwhelming evidence against him. He has also been convicted of another shooting that night. Ballistics tests show that the same gun was used in both shootings. Davis admits to being at the scene of the murder. Officer Mac Pahil was chasing him, and no one else, when Davis shot him in cold blood. This murderer deserves to be put to death.

MaryLovesJustice Neal said...

Anonymous, over a million people contested Troy Davis's death, and most of them did so because they were unconvinced of his guilt. If you have new information on this matter, please provide it. Otherwise, we must take your comment as being pure conjecture and disregard it. Thank you for commenting.