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Ex-FBI Dir. William Sessions Says Georgia Should Stay Execution of Inmate Convicted of Killing Cop


William Sessions/fbi photo

Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director William S. Sessions is the latest to come forward and say the execution of Troy Davis, a Georgia death row inmate convicted of killing a cop, should be halted because of “pervasive, persistent doubts” about his guilt.

In an opinion piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sessions, who was FBI director from 1987 to 1993,writes:

“What quickly will become apparent is that serious questions about Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction. Last summer, an extraordinary hearing ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to answer these questions instead left us with more doubt.”

The Huffington Post reported that others who have called for a halt to the execution, set for Sept. 21, include Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter and the leadership of the NAACP and Amnesty International.

In his Thursday column, Sessions wrote that: “At Davis’ evidentiary hearing, witnesses called by Davis recanted trial testimony and made allegations of police pressure. Others testified that an alternative suspect had confessed to them that he committed the crime. One eyewitness testified, for the first time, that he saw this other suspect, a relative of his, commit the crime. Police witnesses for the state of Georgia alternatively asserted that the original trial testimony was the true version of events and that it was elicited without coercion.”

“Some of these same witnesses also had testified at Davis’ trial but have since recanted their trial testimony. The judge at the evidentiary hearing found their recantations to be unreliable and, therefore, found Davis was unable to “clearly establish” his innocence. The problem is that the testimony of these same witnesses, whom the judge had determined were less believable, had been essential to the original conviction and death sentence.”

Davis, 42, was convicted of the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah cop who was shot to death while coming to the aid of a homeless man being assaulted.

The murder weapon was never recovered. Davis has maintained that another man shot the cop.

To read Sessions’ full piece click here.

 


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