United Church News has this remarkable story:
The peaceful tone of the Rev. Marvin Morgan's voice belies the passion of his message: It's time to get "personal" in eliminating the death penalty. Morgan's willingness to take the place of Troy Davis on death row in Georgia appears to be the ultimate gesture.
"If each of us were to be placed in shackles and led to the execution chambers, knowing we are innocent...try to imagine what that must be like," says Morgan, minister of pastoral care and counseling at First Congregational UCC in Atlanta.
On Sept. 22, Morgan and Davis' friend, Steve Woodall, hand-delivered to the office of Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue a letter requesting that Davis' execution be prevented. "If you are not willing to do so," Morgan wrote, "I, Marvin L. Morgan, do hereby request that you (the State of Georgia) take my life instead of that of Troy Davis, and allow Troy to be set free. I am available immediately to be taken into custody so that this request may be carried forward."
The case has drawn world-wide attention - with voices such as Archbishop Tutu and others calling for Mr. Davis to be removed from Death Row.
Amnesty International reported in 2007:
Troy Anthony Davis has been on death row in Georgia for more than 15 years for the murder of a police officer he maintains he did not commit. Given that all but three of the witnesses who testified against Troy Davis at his trial have since recanted or contradicted their testimony amidst allegations that some of it had been made under police duress, there are serious and as yet unanswered questions surrounding the reliability of his conviction and the state’s conduct in obtaining it. As the case currently stands, the government’s pursuit of the death penalty contravenes international safeguards which prohibit the execution of anyone whose guilt is not based on “clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts”.
Amnesty International does not know if Troy Davis is guilty or innocent of the crime for which he is facing execution. As an abolitionist organization, it opposes his death sentence either way. It nevertheless believes that this is one in a long line of cases in the USA that should give even ardent supporters of the death penalty pause for thought. For it provides further evidence of the danger, inherent in the death penalty, of irrevocable error. As the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court wrote in 1993, “It is an unalterable fact that our judicial system, like the human beings who administer it, is fallible. Or as a US federal judge said in 2006, “The assessment of the death penalty, however well designed the system for doing so, remains a human endeavour with a consequent risk of error that may not be remediable.”
A new hearing has been set for November 9.
Please keep all those involved in your prayers.