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Death row inmate gets extraordinary brief

May 21, 2009 at 11:26 PM

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- A group of former prosecutors and judges has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of an inmate on death row in Georgia.

Troy Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 after he was convicted of shooting an off-duty police officer in Savannah. A federal appeals court, ruling 2-1 in April, denied him a hearing to present evidence of innocence.

Those signing the brief, including former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr and former FBI Director William Sessions, say Davis has "new, never reviewed evidence that strongly points to his innocence," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday. That includes recantations by seven of the nine prosecution witnesses who identified Davis as the killer of Mark Allen MacPhail.

Several of the witnesses now say the real killer was the man who first suggested to police that Davis was the man who shot the 27-year-old officer.

The appeals court granted a 30-day stay of execution that expired Saturday.

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