Richard Glossip's case is similar in many ways to Troy Davis. You may recognize that name--in 2011, when he was executed, he was the world's most famous death row inmate. Like Glossip, Troy Davis had no physical evidence against him. His conviction (of murdering a police officer) was based primarily on 9 eyewitness testimonies. SEVEN of those eyewitnesses recanted or altered their testimonies, many citing police coercion or intimidation. Ten new witnesses came forward saying one of the two non-recanting witnesses, Sylvester Coles, confessed to the murder.
A few days before he was executed, ONE MILLION people signed a petition to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. Despite this, and the many doubts in his case, Troy Davis was executed on September 21, 2011.
I was close friends with Troy--I first visited him on death row in 2008 (when I was 15), and spent the next three years visiting him, corresponding with him, and talking to him on the phone. Troy was so well-known because his case epitomized everything that is wrong with the American justice system and the death penalty--racial bias (he was a black man accused of killing a white cop in 1980s Georgia), an overzealous DA with a history of prosecutorial misconduct, police coercion and witness tampering, the execution of innocents (over a dozen death row inmates have been exonerated since he was executed in 2011...how many innocents were executed in that time?) and a justice system so rigid and brittle that it would not even commute his sentence to life imprisonment, despite even a federal judge admitting Troy had shown at least a "minimal" level of doubt in his case.
Troy's last words, recorded minutes before he was executed, are haunting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98dlGv0k2MM
In 2012, I raised 11k on Kickstarter to write a book on my relationship with Troy Davis called Remain Free. It talks about many of the ugly aspects of his life on death row and of the legal corruption in his case that he (and I) couldn't publicly talk about while he was still alive. Since the book is built on hundreds of recorded conversations, in person visits, and letters with Troy, you really get a sense of who he was as a person and the kind of toll two decades on death row takes on him and his family.
If you'd like a copy, you can order it on Amazon or through http://remainfree.com. All profits go to the Innocence Project , a non-profit that works to free wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing. Alternatively, email me (gautamnarula[at]gmail.com) a screenshot of a $10 donation to the Innocence Project, and I'll send you the e-book for free. Donate $20 to the Innocence Project, and I'll send you a physical copy for just the cost of shipping ($3 in the US).
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