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September 21, 2011

Troy Davis Executed

Dead Now: Executed at 11:08.

This blog post (and its sequels) details a more complicated case than Ann Coulter's column suggested.

The first thing is that the "Van full of Air Force witnesses" really did not see the shooter's face. They could identify him, they say, based on his clothing.

Clothing's important here. In the parking lot was a White Shirt and a Yellow Shirt. Everyone agrees the White Shirt shot and murdered Officer McPhail.

It also seems established that between one Sylvester Coles and one Troy Davis, one was wearing the Yellow Shirt (and therefore is innocent of the murder) and one was wearing the White Shirt (and therefore is guilty of the murder).

Who's who? Who is White Shirt, and guilty of a capital offense, and who is Yellow Shirt, and not guilty?

There is testimony that Coles was wearing the Yellow Shirt, and so is innocent, and Davis was wearing the White Shirt, and so is guilty. Unfortunately that testimony comes from Coles' sister, and even more unfortunately, she spins an odd tale of the men switching shirts.

She claims that her brother wore a yellow shirt as he ran back to her house, and swapped it for a red shirt she gave him. She claims that Davis, on the other hand, ran back to her house shirtless (implication: he took off the white shirt of the murderer), and, for reasons unclear, put on Coles' nasty sweaty yellow shirt for a few moments, before pulling it back off and throwing it back on the porch.

This testimony is all a bit weird, and one reasonable inference is that the sister is making up a story that turns her guilty brother, Coles -- the actual White Shirt killer -- into the innocent Yellow Shirt bystander, and seems to maybe be covering for inconsistencies in her story (perhaps earlier saying that Davis was wearing the yellow shirt, which would make Davis innocent and her brother guilty) by spinning a tale of shirts briefly worn and then discarded.

On the other hand, the blog dismisses eyewitness identifications of Davis as the killer. Coles and Davis (or at least White Shirt and Yellow Shirt) accosted and pistol-whipped a homeless man while he was drinking beer; it was the shouts of this homeless man that brought Officer MacPhail running over.

The homeless man says he didn't remember anything, but the police intimidated him into identifying Davis as the killer. That's one of the recantations.

But his girlfriend did in fact pick Davis out of a photo array. On the second try:

Ms. Murray was shown a photo array the night of the shooting, but could not identify the gunman. Several days later, the police showed her a second photo array, from which she identified Mr. Davis as the man who hit Mr. Young and shot the officer.

Coulter mentions the man who doesn't fully retract his testimony -- Darrell Collins continues to say it was Troy Davis wearing the White Shirt, which, when added to the other eyewitnesses (who agree White Shirt killed him), would seem to indicate Davis did shoot Officer MacPhail.

Although he says Davis was wearing the White Shirt, he says he was coerced by police into implicating Davis in an earlier shooting, and now says that despite being within ten feet of Davis when the shots were fired, he didn't see anything.

He also alleges that Coles was the one who struck the homeless man (the initial assault that brought MacPhail running to the scene)...

They told me that I would go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed… I didn’t want to go to jail because I didn’t do nothing wrong. I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail. They kept saying that…[Troy] had messed with that man up at Burger King and killed that officer. I told them that it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn’t want to hear that…

That last bit is somewhat interesting, because others say the man who "messed" with the homeless man was also the man who shot the cop.

I don't know. It's a lot more convoluted and messy than I first thought. And in this situation -- a cop murdered sadistically by a gun-wielding member of a two-man wolfpack -- I can imagine cops making a lot of threats to get a conviction.

It's the classic two-man murder, one is guilty, and one is actually innocent (except for things that aren't capital offenses, like palling around with killers).

And which is which?

Coles rushed to the police station the next morning to implicate Davis in the murder.

Does that mean Coles was actually innocent?

Or does that mean Coles was smart enough to realize that someone was going to hang for this, and better to get the police focused on Davis?

If you like CSI, or Law & Order, especially those ambiguous-ending episodes, the whole murky mess is worth a read.

AP: A balanced piece, from AP.

Thanks to robrr.



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posted by Ace at 11:25 PM

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