Defense calls witnesses' testimony 'wildly inconsistent'

Sylvester "Red" Coles (Source: Walter Cumming/AJC)
Sylvester "Red" Coles (Source: Walter Cumming/AJC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - State prosecutors called six officers involved in investigation of the 1989 shooting of a Savannah police officer to the stand in day two of the hearing for Troy Davis, who was sentenced to death for the crime.

Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail was fatally shot in the chest and face in a parking lot while working at an off-duty security job. MacPhail heard cries for help from Larry Young, a homeless man who was being harassed by Sylvester "Red" Coles over the beer he was carrying, according to court documents.

Since the 1991 conviction, seven out of nine witnesses have recanted their testimony and an effort to free Davis gained both national and international attention. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Davis's request for a hearing in the federal district court in Savannah. His attorneys are going before a judge this week with new evidence.

Witnesses said in court Thursday that both Coles and Davis had guns. Witnesses testified about what the shooter was wearing at the time and the description of the gun. Davis's attorneys cross examined the witnesses.


The witnesses had different descriptions of clothing. Every single witness said the gunman was wearing a white T-shirt and dark pants or shorts. Some said the shooter was wearing a hat and some said he wasn't.

The defense called the discrepancies "wildly inconsistent."

Lt. Dean Faggerstrom, with Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department, testified that a dark pair of shorts were removed from washing machine at Davis's household.

There are 17 witnesses who are expected to take the stand Thursday.

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