Davis family calls evidentiary hearing "unfair"

Martina Correia
Martina Correia
Mark Macphail Jr.
Mark Macphail Jr.

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - There will be no new trial and the guilty verdict stands for Troy Davis. Tuesday morning, Judge William Moore released his 175 page decision, outlining why lawyers on the Davis defense team, new evidence and testimony, did not convince him Troy Davis is innocent of the murder of officer Mark MacPhail back in August 1989.

While some believed this was Davis' last chance at avoiding execution, it may not be. More appeals could be coming as Davis' lawyers weigh their options.

Earlier this year Davis' sister, Martina Correia, told WTOC all they wanted was a chance for new evidence and witnesses to be heard.

It happened in June of this year, but now, with the his innocence denied, Davis' family is questioning whether or not the hearing was fair.

Almost 21 years ago to the date, Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail was murdered. The man sentenced to die for the crime, Troy Davis, was told by Judge Moore that he is not innocent.

"Not suprising. We know Troy is innocent but from the beginning we knew it would be very hard to get a fair and impartial ruling right here in Chatham County, but we hoped for the best," Correia told WTOC, minutes after the ruling was announced.

Correia is Davis' sister and has been his champion all these years, fighting to save her brother's life.

In June, she hoped they would finally have the chance, as an evidentiary hearing was granted and Judge Moore would hear evidence the Davis defense team said was new, and proved Davis was wrongfully convicted.

"This evidentiary hearing hadn't taken place in 50, 60 years so no one really knew all the rules for what was going to take place and things like that," Correia said.

Two months later, the judge ruled on the case. There would be no new trial and no reversal of the verdict.

Judge Moore stated in his conclusion, "Executing an innocent person would violate the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, Mr. Davis is not innocent."

"I was ecstatic. I was jumping up and down," Mark MacPhail Jr. told WTOC.

Officer MacPhail's son was an infant at the time of his father's murder, but he and his family  were in court for the hearing, in the same room for the first time with Troy Davis since he was convicted 19 years ago.

"It only strengthened our resolve. Being in that courtroom, listening to all the recantations and affadavits from the actual people's mouths. It only proves to us more Troy Davis was the one who killed my father," he said.

Both families, and others, may argue whether the hearing was fair or not. "I wish we had not had to come back to Chatham County to get that type of hearing because, you know, we don't have that fair and impartial environment back in this county," Correia said.

"I found it exrtremely fair. The judge heard hearsay arguments, which he didn't have to do. He let it come in," MacPhail said. "The state provided evidence and that evidence spoke louder than their affadavits."

One thing the families do share is a hope the end is near, however, with two very different outcomes.

"At this point in time we feel it is done. It will go back to the Supreme Court. It should go back to them. Then appeals, then the execution," MacPhail said. "After that, we hope it's over."

"There are several avenue the lawyers could take. Once they make the decision they will go and talk to Troy and talk to the families and they will go from there," Correia said. "We will as a family and a unit, with support from across the world, continue to fight until we can't fight no more."

The MacPhails tell WTOC they do not want the case to drag on much longer, and want execution to happen sooner rather than later.

Troy Davis's family says they are going to continue to fight, and believe Davis is innocent.

The next step in the case could head to one of two places. The defense could take their appeal to the 11th Circuit Court, or, they could go back to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the petition was originally filed, and file an appeal.

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