This morning, I had never heard of Troy Davis.
My first indication that he existed was a Tweet about him. I only went on Twitter, mind you, to escape the annoyingness of Facebook's changes.
Please note: I have been a feverent believer in the death penalty for a long time. You do something awful, there's no shadow of a doubt, you should die.
So I started looking up the facts of Troy Davis's case skeptically. I read, all day, various different sources and accounts and such about him and his case. And what I read disturbed me.
Davis was convicted of killing an off duty cop in 1991. There was eyewitness testimony. This was the basis of his conviction.
Except that many witnesses signed affidavits stating that they were coerced into police into providing the testimonies. Seven recanted - many were illiterate, in prison, or teenagers when their testimony sent Davis to Death Row. Nine people stated that it was the other suspect who had actually killed the police officer. There was no physical evidence.
You see, justice isn't supposed to fail. We're not supposed to kill people when things like this happen. The justice system is supposed to correct these kinds of errors in appeals. Or they aren't supposed to happen at all.
And yet at 11:08pm EST, after being denied a stay, Troy Davis was executed. His death is a tragedy and a travesty. There was too much doubt to make his execution right, just or good. I don't know what kind of a man he was at his core. I will not call him a hero or perfect or beyond reproach. But I do not believe we had enough evidence to brand him a murderer, or to take his own life.
And so tonight I sit, weeping for someone I have never met, someone who may have died at the hands of the people as a total innocent. And I find myself reevaluating my stance on the death penalty. Because how many other Troy Davises are out there? How many other people are poor or minorities and can't get a fair shake at things?
Even one innocent life lost at the hands of the system is too cruel of a price.
Tonight, I am asking all of my friends to look at The Innocence Project. It's getting some heavy traffic tonight and may be slow to load. But they help wrongly convicted people be exonerated. It's a worthy and good cause.
RIP Troy Davis. "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have a gun. I did not personally kill your son, father or brother. I am innocent. Look deeper into this case, so you can really find the truth. For those who are about to take my life, may god have mercy upon your souls and may god bless your souls."
May angels lead you in.