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Re-investigate Officer Mark MacPhail's Murder

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Troy Anthony Davis was executed on September 21, 2011, for the shooting death of Officer Mark MacPhail. After 20 years on Georgia's death row, Davis used his final words to proclaim his innocence, forgive his executioners, and ask us to continue the quest for truth regarding MacPhail's murder.

Davis said, "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."

We, the undersigned, hereby petition the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation regarding the death of Officer MacPhail. We believe the original investigation was flawed.

Background on the Troy Davis Case as relayed in Wikipedia, 2009:

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 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 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 about the weapon, 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.”

The case against Davis was based entirely on witness testimony. In her petition to save her brother, Kim Davis wrote:

"The case against my brother Troy consisted entirely of witness testimony which contained inconsistencies even at the time of the trial. Since then, seven out of nine witnesses from the trial have recanted or contradicted their testimony [exceptions being Coles and his friend].

Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced by police into testifying or signing statements against Troy Davis. Here is what one had to say:

'I got tired of them harassing me, and they made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I told them what they wanted to hear. I told them that Troy told me he did it, but it wasn’t true.'"

In civil actions, judgments rendered because of perjury are VOID; not merely voidable. Civil courts commonly hear lawsuits by plaintiffs seeking monetary damages from their defendants. Does the United States justice system feel that money is more important than the People's right to life and freedom? Should tainted testimony void civil actions but be of no effect in criminal cases, especially when defendants face execution?

We, the undersigned, hold that Officer MacPhail's murder should be thoroughly investigated in light of recanted and tarnished witness testimony, a faulty initial investigation that was highly prejudicial toward Troy Davis, and his poorly financed defense during the original trial and appeals process. These factors led to the conviction and execution of Troy Anthony Davis without proof of guilt and the possibility that Officer MacPhail's murderer thwarted justice. A thorough investigation is warranted and hereby demanded.

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