Below are excerpts from the affidavits of four of the seven witnesses who recanted their trial testimony against Troy Davis. For more of the recantations — as well as affidavits from newly discovered witnesses who say someone else confessed to the crime — check out Amnesty International’s Troy Davis report. (Scroll down to where it says: “The witnesses — recanted and new testimony.”)
Dorothy Ferrell was staying in a hotel across the street from the crime scene and was on parole at the time. She was questioned by police shortly after the murder and later testified at Davis' trial.
“I was scared that if I didn't do what the police wanted me to do, then they would try to lock me up again. … From the way the officer was talking, he gave me the impression that I should say that Troy Davis was the one who shot the officer, like the other witness [sic] had. ... I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter, even though the truth was that I didn't see who shot the officer. … I had four children at that time, and I was taking care of them myself. I couldn't go back to jail. I felt like I didn't have any choice but to get up there and testify to what I said in my earlier statements.”
On the day of the murder, more than a dozen officers showed up at Darrell Collins’ house, according to his affidavit. They took him down to police headquarters for questioning, and he later testified against Davis. He was 16 at the time of the crime.
“I told them that ... I didn't see Troy do nothing. They got real mad when I said this and started getting in my face. They were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would pay like Troy was gonna pay if I didn't tell them what they wanted to hear. They told me … I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed. … After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. … I am not proud for lying at Troy's trial, but the police had me so messed up that I felt that's all I could do or else I would go to jail.”
Larry Young was a homeless man who was being beat up near a bus station minutes before the murder. Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail was rushing to Young’s defense when Young’s attacker fatally shot the officer. Young was questioned by police that night.
“They kept asking me what had happened at the bus station, and I kept telling them that I didn't know. Everything happened so fast down there. I couldn't honestly remember what anyone looked like. Plus, I had been drinking that day, so I just couldn't tell who did what. The cops didn't want to hear that and kept pressing me to give them answers. They made it clear that we weren't leaving until I told them what they wanted to hear.”
Antoine Williams had just driven into the parking lot at the time the shooting occurred.
"I couldn't really tell what was going on because I had the darkest shades of tint you could possibly have on my windows of my car. As soon as I heard the shot and saw the officer go down, I ducked down under the dash of my car. ... Later that night, some cops … asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like. … I kept telling them that I didn't know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. … After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read. … At Troy Davis' trial, I identified him as the person who shot the officer. … I felt pressured to point at him because he was the one who was sitting in the courtroom. I have no idea what the person who shot the officer looks like."
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