Federal Court Reviews New Evidence that Might Prove Troy Davis's Innocence

On June 23-24, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore heard new testimony in the case of death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, who was given an unusual chance by the U.S. Supreme Court to “clearly establish” his innocence after almost 20 years. Davis was convicted in 1991 of the shooting of a Savannah police officer based on eyewitness testimony that identified him as the shooter. During the recent hearings in federal court, four witnesses recanted their original testimony, saying that they were threatened or coerced into giving false statements. Davis’s attorney, Jason Ewart, expressed confidence in the testimony of Benjamin Gordon, who stated for the first time that he witnessed Sylvester “Redd” Coles commit the murder of the officer. Coles was one of the few remaining original witnesses who have not recanted their testimony against Davis. Neither side called Coles to the stand. Judge Moore did not issue a ruling at the close of the hearings, but instructed attorneys to file legal briefs by July 7. Moore said he would rule as promptly as possible.

(B. Rankin, “Judge must decide whether Troy Davis proved innocence in cop killing,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, June 25, 2010). See Innocence.