Troy Davis' case gets a new hearing

Published: Aug. 19, 2009 at 12:24 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2010 at 6:55 PM EDT
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Troy Anthony Davis
Troy Anthony Davis

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Wednesday will mark 20 years since Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail was shot and killed. A rally at the Chatham County courthouse and ceremony will take place Wednesday morning.

Davis said he is innocent of the crime. The MacPhail family stands behind the verdict of 1991.

From CNN to networks around the world, the stories of witnesses in the Troy Davis case changing their stories has spread. Darrell Collins was the star witness for the Chatham County District Attorney's Office and signed a police statement implicating Troy Davis in officer Mark MacPhail's 1989 murder.

"I told them over and over I did not see this happen," said Collins. "They put what they wanted to put in that statement."

"He was definitely guilty all of the witnesses were able to identifty him as the person who actually did it," said Brenda Forrest, a former juror.

Even some jurors in the trial like Brenda Forrest have since changed their minds.

"If i knew then what i know now Troy Davis would not be on death row," Forrest told WTOC. "The verdict would be not guilty."

"Five minutes of fame," Joan MacPhail, officer MacPhail's widow, told CNN about the witness recantations.

The MacPhail family says Troy Davis was the killer.

"They were so adament about what they saw when they saw it," Joan McPhail said.

"This has gained national attention, this is not just an ordinary case anymore," Savannah defense attorney Mike Schaiveone said.

Schiavone never thought 3 years ago, when Davis's first clemency hearing took place, it would lead to now.

"I would not have expected this," he said.

While the southern district clerk waits for the paperwork from the U.S. Supreme Court, attention now turns to the eventual hearing before a federal judge in Savannah.

The witnesses who recanted may testify, Troy Davis may be there in person. Schiavone said it could be a whole new ball game if they can prove Troy Davis's innocence.

"If they are able to make that threshold showing the court could conceivabvle grant him a new trial," said Schiavone.

If they don't, it's not over yet. A whole new batch of appeals will come with a decision against the defense.

"It could take a long time just like it has for years," Shiavone stated.

And while some say recanted witness testimony is far from credible Schiavone thinks the Troy Davis case has already made an impact on the justice system and the death penalty.

"It raises serious questions," he said. "This and probably much more will come out in the big picture that we don't know about at that hearing in the district court It could be months."

Schiavone also tells WTOC once the paperwork is delivered to the Southern District Court Clerk from the U.S. Supreme court, a hearing date will be set.

And even after the hearing is over, which may not happen until next year, the judges may take the case under advisement, which could be many more months until a decision is announced.

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