With his execution looming on Wednesday night (September 21), Georgia death-row inmate Troy Davis’ lawyers have been scrambling to piece together a last-minute appeal on his behalf. Davis has been fighting to win a clemency ruling that would spare him the death penalty for the 1989 killing of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail, a crime he claims he did not commit.
Time magazine reported that his lawyers offered on Tuesday to have him take a polygraph test if the pardons board would consider its results, and some of Davis’ supporters have suggested asking President Obama to intervene in the case, though legal experts said that was unlikely. A Georgia appeals panel refused the polygraph request on Wednesday in what has become the most high-profile death penalty case in the country in several years.
A number of prominent hip-hop artists have taken up Davis’ cause, among them Diddy, ?uestlove, Killer Mike and Russell Simmons, as well as the ATL’s Big Boi. The Outkast co-founder has taken to his Twitter account to spread the word about the case and try to get the word out about a series of protests planned for Wednesday around the city.
“Time to hit the streets people!!!! #Troydavis. Rally at the prison in Jackson Georgia 4:00 pm , time to be seen!!!!!” he wrote early Wednesday as part of a flurry of tweets about the topic. “Judge Penny Freezeman is apparently the only one that can stop the UNJUST execution of Troy Davis: 912-652-7252.”
Boi’s account is full of retweets from other celebs weighing in, including Kim Kardashian, Diddy, writer Kevin Powell, Cedric the Entertainer and Marlon Wayans. “At this point if you’re in Atlanta or anywhere near, Jackson, Georgia, is where u need to be, out of towners can man the phones,” he wrote.
MacPhail was working as a security guard at a Savannah, Georgia, Burger King in August 1989 when he tried to help a man who was being assaulted in a nearby parking lot. Davis was fingered as the assailant and during his 1991 trial a number of witnesses testified that they saw Davis shoot MacPhail, though a murder weapon and DNA evidence were never recovered from the scene. Ballistics tests showed that the fatal shot came from the same gun used in another shooting in which Davis was earlier convicted.
Davis’ lawyers have argued that new ballistics tests disprove the prosecution’s case and that seven of the nine original eyewitnesses changed all or part of their testimony in later proceedings. The long-running case has garnered worldwide attention and Davis’ cause has been taken up by groups and individuals such as Amnesty International, the NAACP, former President Jimmy Carter, the Pope, civil rights leader Al Sharpton and former FBI director William Sessions, who’ve called on courts to grant Davis a hearing in light of the new evidence.
Lawyer Brian Kammer also tried to file a last-minute appeal based on new ballistics evidence and allegations of misleading testimony used in the original trial to convict Davis, but legal experts predicted those efforts would also likely fail to spare his client’s life. Davis is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
The case made it all the way to the Supreme Court last year, Davis’ lawyers failed to prove their client’s innocence.
Davis has maintained his innocence all along, but prosecutors in the case have repeatedly said they feel confident that the right man was convicted.
Watch ’RapFix Live’ today at 4 pm ET on MTV.com as Big Boi and Pill discuss their protest of the Troy Davis execution with Sway.