Deveney Williams

Troy Davis Case


On September 22nd 2011, Troy Davis, an African American man convicted of murder and sentenced to life, was put to death by lethal injection by the state of Georgia. This case exposed many controversial sides of the death penalty and potential racism. In 1989, police officer Mark MacPhail was on duty in Savannah, Georgia at the local Burger King. Acting out his duty as an officer, he went to break out a fight erupting in the parking lot. Gun shots were fired and seven witnesses testified that they saw Davis shoot the officer along with two who claimed he admitted the murder to them. For the defense they only had six witnesses compared to the 34 the prosecution held. The case had little evidence to support it and put Davis on death row. In the June 2010 the evidentiary hearing was presented when 7 of the 9 original testimonies changed their decisions to innocent. Regardless of this new information, the courts failed to serve justice.



This case disturbs me for many reasons, one of the primary ones being that I was a supporter of the death penalty before I was aware of this hearing. I always figured if someone has the heart and soul to take someone’s life, their life deserves to be taken. However with this theory, if we push forward with it, ultimately it just becomes a vicious cycle. If we take the lives of those who kill, don’t we eventually become the new killers?

Some crimes are unforgivable, hitting close to home on a personal level or just an action an individual believes to be completely unacceptable. For example, murder. In my generations, suicide bombers and terrorist have intergraded into my daily life. Hundreds of people getting killed sadly are not as much as a shocker to me because it is repeated in my life so many times. This murder of this one white cop in Georgia by an African American seems miniscule on the scale of crimes that we are dealing with in the present day. This case reeks of racism based on the location and day and age.

As now a newly anti-death penalty voter, I feel that everyone should get justice regardless of the crime. In the case of Troy Davis, our judicial system failed to show justice to every individual. This is supposed to be land of the free and home of the brave. In this case, Troy Davis was not free, as our country hid behind racism instead of standing up for what was right. By the lack of evidence presented, the jurors of retracted their testimony and the numerous other suspicious factors, this case needed to be deeply investigated before any rational movements took place like lethal injection.

A website named, Davis’ sister; Martina Correia gave an empowering speech that sent the chills through my body. One of the reasons I have changed my view on the death penalty was because in the video she said, “If you believed in the death penalty before, can you now?” Taken back, I thought could I? Besides this, Correia has been fighting cancer along with trying to aid her brother on death row. At the end of her speech she stands up out of her wheelchair and says, “I am Troy Davis. You are Troy Davis. We are Troy Davis.” By this she means that Troy Davis was just an American citizen. He could have been any one of us. How would you feel if all odds were against you even though your innocence was shinning though? A heart breaking case and tremendous loss, Troy Davis has brought the attention needed for segregation in America and the injustice of the death penalty; he was the catalyst for change.