Rock band visits Savannah for Troy Davis

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - With a hearing coming up to try and prove his innocence, death row inmate Troy Davis is finding support from across the ocean.

A member of british rock band, Keane, and others are visiting from the United Kingdom to talk about the Troy Davis case.

They are against the death penalty, under any circumstances, and after visiting with Davis this weekend, they say they think he's innocent.

Not everyone agrees, but they join a growing list of people who are learning about a case which has garnered world wide attention and is focusing a spotlight on Georgia.

Four years ago, best-selling British rock band Keane burst onto the music scene in the U.S.

"We love being on the road, getting on a tour bus and touring America," Richard Hughes, Keane's dummer, told WTOC. "It is something you dream about when you first start jamming."

After millions of albums sold, and just wrapping up a world tour, Hughes is making his first trip to Savannah, but it's not about music. It's about Troy Davis and capital punishment.

"I think the death penalty should be abolished, but in Troy's case it seems so clear there is such strong doubts about his conviction yet there is still a state which wants to execute him," Hughes said.

Hughes, along with Scottish member of Britain's Parliament, Alistair Carmichael, and Amnesty International United Kingdom's Kim Manning-Cooper, visited Troy Davis Saturday in Jackson, Georgia, on death row.

"Having met him, he is an incredibly positive and genuine person and I have no doubts he is an innocent man," Hughes said.

"Troys case is now a global case, people across the world know about it," Carmichael told WTOC. "So much doubt exists about guilt or innocence."

Carmichael also heads up the Parliamentary group for the world-wide abolition of the death penalty. Carmichael, Hughes and Manning-Cooper will be speaking to students at Savannah State University Friday night at 8pm.

"I came because I see a situation where there will be no justice for anyone," Carmichael said. "Obviously no justice for Troy, but no justice for the family of Mark MacPhail."

"We want to tell the State of Georgia the whole world is watching them, not just Savannah, not just the USA, the whole world," Manning-Cooper said.

Twenty years after the murder of officer Mark MacPhail and the conviction of Davis, Carmichael and Hughes say guilty or innocent, the death penalty is not the answer.

"You don't need a Scottsman to come to Georgia to remind you of the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who said, 'Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere'," Carmichael said.

"The arguments around Troy's case have in a way distracted from the loss of the MacPhail family but that is not a reason to execute an innocent man," Hughes said.

WTOC spoke to Mark MacPhail junior on Friday by phone. He says he is a little aggravated by the growing support for Troy Davis, who he believes is guilty of killing his father. Some say Troy Davis supporters have had 20 years to rewrite history, and now he feels many are starting to believe it.

Meanwhile, Davis' attorney's are waiting for the Georgia state attorney general to file briefs. Once filed, Davis's lawyers have 45 days to file their briefs. It could be late fall or early winter before a date is set for his evidentiary hearing.

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