Davis' defense argued during his trial that the Savannah police were given an immediate suspect in Davis, by Coles, and only pursued that angle, in part the defense argued because the police were motivated by "anger" with the death of an officer to have a quick trial.
In the years that followed, seven of those nine witnesses have recanted their testimony and some have allegedly claimed they were coerced by police to finger Davis as the shooter. Some even said in sworn affidavits that it was in fact Coles who shot MacPhail.
"I told them what they wanted to hear," Darrell Collins said in recanting his originaly testimony Wednesday.
Collins was 16 at the time of the shooting, and according to court documents he was with Davis the night of the shooting. Collins told the court Wednesday that he was threatened by investigators to identify Davis as the shooter.
A similar story was told by Dorothy Farrel in 2000 affidavit. During the 1991 trial, Farrel told the court that she was "real sure" it was Davis she saw shoot the police officer.
In the sworn affidavit recanting her testimony, Farrel said, "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 and 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 and I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn't see who shot the officer."
Others who testified Wednesday included Charles Hargrove and Benjamin Gordon.
Hargrove told the court that Coles admitted to him that he let Davis take the fall for the crime, but Hargrove said he did not come forward out of fear due to outstanding arrest warrants.
Gordon said he witnessed Coles pull the trigger, but did not come forward because Coles was married to his cousin. However the prosecution cast doubt on their testimony and according to court transcripts their testimony was regarded as "hearsay" by the judge.
Davis' advocates realize that he still faces an uphill battle to prove he is not a cop killer.
"The bar has been set high. Troy Davis was asked to prove his innocence. Usually it's innocent untill proven guilty," Wendy Gozan Brown, of Amnesty International told ABC News.
Laura Moye, director of Amensty International's Troy Davis Campaign, said Wednesday's testimony was a strong first day in the hearing.
"People admitted in open court, before a judge, that they lied. It was very compelling and deep doubts in the case were illuminated," Moye told ABC News.
Amnesty International, along with the NAACP, has been leading a drive for the last five years to get the courts to look at the recanted testimony. While they have not taken a position on whether or not they believe Davis is innocent, Moye contends that the main issue is that if a man is to be put to death for a crime, a system should be in place so that it is absolute they comitted that crime.
"We think the Troy Davis case represents so much of what is wrong," Moye said.
"We think that Troy has a very strong case of innocence, and there should never be any doubt," she said.
According to Moye, Davis was calm and quiet in court today.
"He looked quiet, thoughtful," she said.