He may have done it. But, we can’t be sure. According to an attorney recently interviewed on Amy Goodman’s show, later DNA exonerations have revealed that as much as 75% of death row cases that were judged wrongly were based on eyewitness testimony, whether that testimony was given through prejudice or coercion. In this case, seven of the nine eyewitnesses who recanted alleged police coercion. The murder weapon was never found. Troy Davis solidly maintained his innocence from the start to the very end. So it’s quite possible that Georgia executed an innocent man last night.

Now I haven’t read the case history from start to finish, but either the Troy Davis case has the highly (perhaps even uniquely) unusual quality of being proven despite an absence of any physical evidence, scores of eyewitnesses who recanted, a suspicious accuser, and a convict who claimed his innocence from start to end, or– more likely– the standard for qualifying for the death penalty in America now is that a) we only have to be pretty sure you’re guilty, and b) if killing you will give closure to a vocal family, to a state prosecutor, and to a wronged police department that never caught the real man, so help you God.

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