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The Words of the Recanting Witnesses in the Troy Davis Case

Here are passages of affidavits from the 7 out of 9 witnesses recanting in Troy Davis case. #8 is dead, and #9 is the suspected perp. There is much written about the fact that 7 out of 9 witnesses recanted, but far less coverage of the statements themselves.

I am Troy Davis.

Affidavits Recanting Testimony or Statements Given in the Troy Davis Case
(From: Amnesty International, ‘Where is the justice for me?’: The case of Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia , Feb. 1, 2007)

Kevin McQueen

“The truth is that Troy never confessed to me or talked to me about the shooting of the police officer. I made up the confession from information I had heard on T.V. and from other inmates about the crimes. Troy did not tell me any of this… I have now realized what I did to Troy so I have decided to tell the truth… I need to set the record straight.”

Monty Holmes

“I told them I didn’t know anything about who shot the officer, but they kept questioning me. I was real young at that time and here they were questioning me about the murder of a police officer like I was in trouble or something. I was scared… [I]t seemed like they wouldn’t stop questioning me until I told them what they wanted to hear. So I did. I signed a statement saying that Troy told me that he shot the cop.”

Jeffrey Sapp

“I got tired of them harassing me, and they made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I told them what they wanted to hear. I told them that Troy told me he did it, but it wasn’t true. Troy never said that or anything like it. When it came time for Troy’s trial, the police made it clear to me that I needed to stick to my original statement; that is, what they wanted me to say. I didn’t want to have any more problems with the cops, so I testified against Troy.”

Dorothy Ferrell

“From the way the officer was talking, he gave me the impression that I should say that Troy Davis was the one who shot the officer like the other witness [sic] had… I felt like I was just following the rest of the witnesses. I also felt like I had to cooperate with the officer because of my being on parole…I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn’t see who shot the officer.”

Darrell "D.D." Collins

“After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said. … It is time that I told the truth about what happened that night, and what is written here is the truth. I am not proud for lying at Troy’s trial, but the police had me so messed up that I felt that’s all I could do or else I would go to jail.”

Larry Young

“I couldn’t honestly remember what anyone looked like or what different people were wearing. Plus, I had been drinking that day, so I just couldn’t tell who did what. The cops didn’t want to hear that and kept pressing me to give them answers. They made it clear that we weren’t leaving until I told them what they wanted to hear. They suggested answers and I would give them what they wanted. They put typed papers in my face and told me to sign them. I did sign them without reading them.”

Antoine Williams

“They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling them that I didn’t know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. It all happened so fast. Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read.”

Robert Grizzard

“I have reviewed the transcript of my testimony from the trial of Troy Davis… During my testimony I said that the person who shot the officer was wearing a light colored shirt. The truth is that I don’t recall now and I didn’t recall then what the shooter was wearing, as I said in my initial statement …”

Michael Cooper

“I have had a chance to review a statement which I supposedly gave to police officers on June 25, 1991. I remember that they asked a lot of questions and typed up a statement which they told me to sign. I did not read the statement before I signed. In fact, I have not seen it before today. … What is written in that statement is a lie.”

Benjamin Gordon

“I just kept telling them that I didn’t do anything, but they weren’t hearing that. After four or five hours, they told me to sign some papers. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I didn’t read what they told me to sign and they didn’t ask me to.”

Affidavits Containing Evidence Implicating Another Suspect in the Troy Davis Case

Joseph Washington

“I saw Sylvester Coles – I know him by the name Red – shoot the police officer. I am positive that it was Red who shot the police officer…”

Tonya Johnson

Red then took both guns next door to an empty house and put them inside the screen door and shut the door … he threatened me after this happened. He told me that he wanted to make sure that I did not tell the police about the guns he hid in the screen door that morning. This is why I did not testify about the guns at Troy’s trial because I was afraid of what Red would do to me if I did. I have not told anyone about this until now because I was still scared… But I have decided that I must tell the truth."

Anthony Hargrove

“I know a guy named Red, from Savannah. His real name is Sylvester Coles. I’ve known Red for years and we used to hang out together. Red once told me that he shot a police officer and that a guy named Davis took the fall for it. He told me this about a year or so after the officer was killed…”

Gary Hargrove

“I am sure that Red was facing in the officer’s direction when I heard the shooting. … I was never talked to by the police or any attorneys or investigators representing Troy Davis before his trial. I didn’t go up to talk to the police that night because I was on parole at the time and was out past my curfew so I didn’t want my parole officer to find out about that.”

Shirley Riley

“People on the streets were talking about Sylvester Coles being involved with killing the police officer so one day I asked him if he was involved… Sylvester told me he did shoot the officer …”

Darold Taylor

“I remember reading in the paper once about how a guy named Troy Davis got sentenced to the electric chair… One day when I was in the parking lot of Yamacraw drinking beers with Red. I told him about how I’d heard that he was the one who killed the officer. Red told me to stay out of his business. I asked him again if he killed the officer and Red admitted to me that he was the one who killed the officer, but then Red told me again to stay out of his business.”

April Hester Hutchinson

“Red turned to me and asked me if I would walk with him up to the Burger King so ‘they won’t think that I had nothing to do with it’. That’s exactly what he said… I told [the police] that I saw Red talking to my cousin Tonya and that Red was real nervous. I did not tell them about what Red had said to me because I was scared he would hurt me. I was thinking that if he did that to a police officer, what would he do to me? I didn’t want to die like that officer, so I kept my mouth shut.”

Anita Saddler

“When I saw Red and Terry, they were jumpy and couldn’t stand still. Their eyes were shifting around and they were looking everywhere. They walked up to us and Red asked us to go up to Burger King and see what happened. Like I said, they were real nervous and fidgety. Red had a gun which was stuck into his shorts. I saw the outline of his gun through his white shirt. I had seen him with a gun many times before.” Peggie Grant (mother of April Hester Hutchinson) “A few hours later, April called me on the phone. She told me that she had had a conversation with Red where he asked her to walk up with him to where the officer was shot so that the police would think that he was with her and not think he did anything.”

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That it is better one hundred

That it is better one hundred guilty persons should escape than that one innocent person should suffer

Benjamin Franklin

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Ben is in a very close race for being my favorite founder

besides my obvious hero. Also gotta love John Adams. Guys would cross the street when they saw him coming because they knew he would get in their face about supporting the Revolution, start yelling at them and pointing. Little guy with kind of a crazy look...

...a small number of rabble rousers keen to set brushfires in mens' minds...(??)

(how did I mangle that?)

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
-- Muhammad Ali

Should framing prosecutors and lying cops be prosecuted?

"This is not about Troy Davis. This is about all the Troy Davis' in the world." - - Troy Davis

The fight is just beginning.

From his last letter:

remember I am in a place where execution can only destroy your physical form but because of my faith in God, my family and all of you I have been spiritually free for some time and no matter what happens in the days, weeks to come, this Movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated. There are so many more Troy Davis’. This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe. We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.

I can’t wait to Stand with you, no matter if that is in physical or spiritual form, I will one day be announcing,


Never Stop Fighting for Justice and We will Win!

Prosecutors: "We have a legal right to frame innocent
people" (NPR):

On one side of the case being argued are Iowa prosecutors who contend "there is no freestanding right not to be framed." They are backed by the Obama administration, 28 states and every major prosecutors organization in the country.

Gov. Don Siegelman: What Happened to President Obama's Moral Compass?:
Siegelman particularly is outraged by the 2009 case of Pottawattamie County v. McGhee, in which the Obama Justice Department argued there is "no freestanding right not to be framed."

"The right not to be framed," Washington Post

Dallas County DA Wants Framing Prosecutors, Lying Cops Punished With Jail Time

Dr. Paul, from a fervant supporter, please comment on this issue!

Ron Paul 2012

"I am Troy Davis"

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
-- Muhammad Ali

anyone can believe whatever

anyone can believe whatever they want about this case now that he is dead. if you are for the death penalty and have decided for yourself that troy davis was a guilty murderer and deserving of execution, guess what? you won. he is dead, and there is no bringing him back to life.

the death penalty is an abomination. there are states that abolished it in the 1800's, yet we still argue in 2011 with plenty of ad hominem, that a dead man did or did not deserve the death penalty. the death penalty does not boil down to "stick a needle in the arm and...voila! no more criminal!". it's much more complicated than that. it is an institution created by law, by which rules change according to parliamentary procedure by representatives based on their opinions, the opinions of their constituencies and maybe even campaign donors, sadly enough. the amount of bureaucracy human life can be subject to in these cases is atrocious. no one's life should be subject to bureaucrats pushing papers behind the scenes, projecting this fake sense of normalcy to it all. it is completely uncivilized, primitive and totally outrageous.


I don't think you know what ad homineum means. It means attacking the character of the person making the argument INSTEAD of actually making any argument. But everyone here on both sides are making plenty of actual arguments, we obviously just like doing it with a lot of personal insults thrown in for flavor.

And every statement you made could also apply to waging war in this country- should we also disband the military and refuse to wage war under any circumstances? You are making an argument against how the death penalty is administered, not making any cogent argument against it, per se.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt

u still here, jack boot?

I'll finish with you in a minute

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
-- Muhammad Ali

not really

I actually don't really give a sh#t about the death penalty at all. I'm just irritated by the stupid way anti-death penalty bed-wetting crybabies always rally around obviously guilty murders. Troy Davis is so obviously guilty and has had a conviction that has held up through over a dozen courts. His case has been literally one of the most thoroughly reviewed of the last century.

And hey, what about Lawrence Brewer? He was that white supremacist who got the death penalty for killing James Byrd. Remember that. He was executed just 3 days ago around the exact same time as Troy Davis. Sooooo, when are you all going to take to the streets chanting I am Lawrence Brewer?

Why don't you do that, huh?

Until you all start chanting "I am Lawrence Brewer" in the streets, you are all selective phonies to me.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt

How are you so gullible?

There were 34 witnesses total (not 9) that saw and testified that Davis shot a guy in the face, including several of Davis' friends and 3 Air Force veterans who were right there watching.

Of these "recantations" you cited only 2 of them, not 7, were found to have any genuinely legal value to the validity of the case. And those two affidavits were discounted by the court because Davis refused to allow the affiants to testify at the post-trial evidentiary hearing. Why did Davis refuse to let them testify in his honor? Well, probably because that their lawyer-drafted affidavits would not have held up under cross-examination. Traditionally, recanted post-trial testimony has the least value, as it is usually done in response from defense lawyers and other pressures.

Over a DOZEN courts have reviewed this and found it stands. Davis was convicted by a mostly black jury, on the strength of 34 witnesses, almost all black.

Yup, you're Troy Davis, alright. A total f'ing moron.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt

You are quoting Ann Coulter, you fascist pig,

34 witnesses did not "see" Davis shoot anyone, so off the bat you give a baldfaced lie. Coulter neglects to mention that of those 34 witnesses only 9 were eyewitnesses. The others were forensics ("yes, this is a gun,") and inmates recruited by the prosecution to say what they wanted them to say. Coulter never plays fast with the truth, does she?

The figure stands. 7 out of 9 eyewitnesses recanted. The travesty is you are arguing facts which should be argued before a jury, not on a website after the man is dead.

Ann Coulter:

Yea, I'm sure a former Reagan-Bush FBI Director who is pro-death penalty, William Sessions, goes out on a limb to call for a halt to the execution lightly, and knows less about it and the trial than Coulter does.

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
-- Muhammad Ali

nope, try again

Blah blah blah, "you fascist pig". Don't you crybabys ever think of new insults?

There were not only 9 eyewitnesses, you lying, murder loving imbecile. There were also the 3 air force men, the homeless man's girlfriend, and others.

Also, not everyone who "recanted" was an eyewitness. Some were people who said that Davis confessed to them, then said they made it up. So, get your own facts straight, ass clown.

You say forensics is "yes this is a gun". Nope. Try "yes these shell casings from the two shootings match" which implicated Davis.

And of the 7 "recants" only 2 were found to have any merit on the case. That's right, moron. There were only 2 materially substantial recantations. And did Davis call them to testify? No, he didn't. Probably because their testimony was worthless. Again only 2 materially changed their testimony and Davis’s attorneys refused to present those two in federal court in 2010 to be examined in the evidentiary hearing even though they sat outside the courtroom door.

There was also blood evidence on Davis's clothing that would have been finally admitted should he have had a retrial. Why wasn't the defense pressing for that in the hearing, if he was innocent? Take a guess.

Also, for the first time in 50 years the United States Supreme Court ordered a federal court to conduct an entire rehearing of all the evidence. And they found nothing. Not even Georgia's liberal Supreme court found Davis's case had merit.

I'm not necessarily the most Pro-Death penalty guy around but why you brain-dead anti-death penalty types always chose the worst cases to rally around is beyond me.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt

you are sputtering sit down and relax, first you are wrong

Forbes Magazine's Alex Knapp ( who has covered this for Forbes extensively) in a comment to his article "Troy Anthony Davis and the Truth":

"Moreover, although there were 34 witnesses for the prosecution, only nine of them were eyewitnesses. Of those nine, seven have recanted."

So again you are a bald-faced liar and the rest of your drivel can be dismissed by the discerning reader.

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
-- Muhammad Ali

Wrong again

No, you're wrong. You just can't see past your own sense of self righteousness to get it. Well, when your boyfriend's done holding your sobbing little body against his chest, why don't you name the 9 eyewitnesses by name and provide links to their testimony? Whoops, because you can't. The fact is that Alex Knapp is completely incorrect, and knows nothing himself. 7 eyewitnesses have not recanted, and there were not simply 9 eyewitnesses. There's actually no published info about which are direct eyewitness, key-witnesses, or simply witnesses, and I'm not even sure you understand or appreciate the difference.

And you never addressed the fact that ONLY 2 RECANTS WERE FOUND TO HAVE ANY MATERIAL VALUE WHATSOEVER. And of those 2, ONLY 1 was an eyewitness. The other was a man, McQueen, who claimed Davis confessed to him in jail but then later said he made it up because he was mad at Davis. The other, Farrell, was an eyewitness. And she did not claim that Davis didn't do it. She first claimed that she originally picked Davis's picture out of a lineup of 5 pics, but then she later said that she actually identified Davis from a single pic, not a lineup.

So, there you have it. Those are the 2 STRONGEST "recants" you have. One wasn't an eyewitness at all, he was Davis's inmate. And the other still said Davis did it. She just recanted how she officially ID'd him with police.

I'm not going to call you a liar. Because, actually you're just an idiot who doesn't know anything about this case other than the warm feeling you get deep down from thinking you're so much better than everyone else for opposing the death penalty and mindless chanting "I am Troy Davis."

And you didn't answer my questions. Why didn't Davis call these people to the stand when offered to so so by the judge?

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt


Enough with the ad hominem attacks.

Civility, please!

Uncanny timing

I just finished reading the chapter on capital punishment in RP's Liberty Defined.
This is so sad.

Colchester, New London County, Connecticut

In my view an near complete solution has 3 components

1. Abolish death penalty. This shows man can't be trusted with it.

2. DNA testing for any convict who wants it. Right now the PROSECUTORS must approve, the very people most interested in hiding their error or wrongdoing.

3. Prosecute lying cops and framing prosecutors. Innocence projects studying wrongful convictions are fine, but get it at the front end, not just after the fact.

A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
-- Muhammad Ali


1. So should we abolish the US military since Iraq war shows we can't be trusted with it?

2. DNA testing? If I walk up to you in a parking lot and shoot you in the face, as Troy Davis did, exactly what DNA evidence do you expect there to be?

3. This I actually agree with.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt

you're pretty intent on telling people they are wrong

Maybe Troy did deserve to die. I wasn't there.

It's irrelevant. I don't care if there was undeniable video footage of Davis. Do what?

That is not the point of opposing the death penalty.

What this is about is whether or not government has rights that no individual has, and where do governments derive these rights from?

It's also about whether or not the government can successfully pick and choose the correct people to die.

You are a real piece of work, your rudeness, your little signature. I best never run into you in real life.

nope, not good enough

The government obviously has prerogatives the people don't have. That's why the government can put people in jail. Can you barge into a criminal's home, drag him back to your place, and lock him in your basement for 20 years? No. Golly gee, but the government can, can't it? Why? Because the government can do things you can't. Many things, actually- like collect taxes, impose fines, imprison people, deport people, take away people's right to vote, etc- derived form the consent of the governed, as stated in our founding documents.

Anti-death penalty arguments are typically one of the following three things. (1) Governments have no rights the people don't have. Which is obviously false- see my example above. (2) Our government is no damn good at administering the death penalty, therefore they shouldn't do it. This is actually a strong statement and might even be true. But our government is also no damn good at picking wars to fight (Iraq for example). But that's no logical argument against the state having the power to wage war, per se. It's just an argument for the government exercising its duties better, not the complete abolition of the prerogative. (3) Killing people in all circumstances is always morally wrong. This is an interesting absolutist moral proposition. Where did you get it? The bible? Or the Koran? Or some other absolute authority? A God? Or what? This is a conclusion which must be logically reached by argument, not a unquestioned starting point to simply be asserted as fact from the outset.

And yeah, sorry I have no patience for stupidity. Ron Paul people are ALWAYS the smartest and most informed and logical people I've ever met. They really are. At least until the death penalty comes up and then some of them have their brains all turn to mush and they morph into sobbing illogical liberals.

And feel free to come up to NYC, head to my neighborhood in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and run into me in real life any time you please, you phony tough guy.

The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt