New Evidence in Troy Davis Case

New evidence in the Troy Davis case in Georgia has recently emerged, further implicating another suspect in the murder of off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. In 1991, Davis was sentenced to death for officer MacPhail’s murder. Davis became the primary suspect after Sylvester “Redd” Coles told the police about Davis’s presence at the crime scene. During his 1991 trial, nine prosecution eyewitnesses testified against Davis. All but two of the witnesses (one of whom is Coles) have recanted their testimony. The new testimony was provided by Quiana Glover, who was at a friend’s house when she said Coles admitted to killing MacPhail. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted her affidavit as stating that Coles knew the murder was being falsely attributed to Davis instead of himself. In August 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an historic order, continuing Davis’s stay of execution and instructing a federal District Court judge in Savannah to hold an evidentiary hearing to decide whether Davis’s new evidence clearly establishes his innocence.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported: “According to Glover’s affidavit, a woman who was with Coles at the party told him he was drinking too much and to slow down. ‘This [expletive] is killing me,’ Coles replied. When Glover said she asked what Coles was talking about, he said, ‘Man, looky here, I’m the one who killed that [expletive]. But if they want to hold Troy’s [expletive] then let them hold him. Besides, I’ve got kids to raise.’”

(B. Rankin, “Troy Davis case raising novel legal issues,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dec. 20, 2009). See U.S. Supreme Court and Innocence.