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by Michelle Rindels
The Vatican is appealing to U.S. officials to commute the
death sentence of a Georgia man convicted of killing a police officer in
1989.
Saying that a number of key witnesses have recanted their
testimonies, the Vatican embassy in Washington sent a letter to Georgia
Gov. Sonny Perdue, requesting clemency for Troy Anthony Davis, 38.
“In the name of Pope Benedict XVI, I am respectfully asking you to
commute Troy’s sentence to life in prison without parole,” wrote Vatican
diplomat Monsignor Martin Krebs.
Davis was sentenced to death for the murder of Mark MacPhail, a
Savannah police officer.
His execution was originally scheduled for Tuesday (July 17), but is
on hold while the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles weighs the case.
The board must rule by Oct. 14.
The Vatican is joined by civil rights leader and U.S. Rep. John
Lewis, D-Ga., in petitioning for clemency for Davis.
“As a man of faith, I am sure I know what God wants you to do. Do
justice. Commute the sentence of Troy Anthony Davis,” Lewis said at a
clemency hearing last week.
While he was present at the scene of the murder, Davis says that he
wasn’t responsible for the murder. Seven witnesses have recanted or
contradicted testimony implicating him, according to Davis’ lawyers.
The Board of Pardons and Paroles has received thousands of letters
on Davis’ behalf. A representative said they will treat the Vatican’s
request like the others.
“The board has to base its decision on facts,” spokesman Scheree
Lipscomb told The Associated Press.
Copyright 2007 Religion News Service

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