June 24, 2010— -- A man who dodged his date with the executioner three times, once by a mere 90 minutes, returns to a Savannah, Ga., courtroom today where so far four witnesses have recanted testimony that put him on death row 19 years ago.
Troy Anthony Davis, now 40, was convicted in 1991 of murdering Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.
According to court documents, the conviction was based on the testimony of nine witnesses who identified Davis as the man who shot MacPhail in 1989. There was no physical evidence introduced in the trial and the murder weapon was never found.
Now, 19 years later, most of those witnesses are recanting their testimony, including four who appeared in court Wednesday.
"I was so scared I told them anything they wanted to hear," Jeffrey Sapp, a witness who fingered Davis as the shooter in the 1991 trail, said Wednesday in released testimony.
Sapp said in court Wednesday the police told him, "Just say Troy told you. Just say Troy told you." Other witnesses told similar stories Wednesday, as Davis fights for his life after sitting on death row for close to 20 years.
Kevin McQueen had testified in 1991 that Davis admitted killing MacPhail, yet now McQueen says there is simply "no truth" to his original testimony.
"He never told me nothing like this. ... He never confessed to shooting anybody to me," McQueen testified Wednesday.
Last year the Supreme Court, for the first time in 50 years, granted a writ of habeas corpus for a case filed directly to its docket rather than hearing an appeal from a lower court ruling.