Thursday, September 22, 2011

Texas, Georgia, Davis, Brewer, MacPhail, Byrd.

They killed them both tonight, Troy Davis and Larry Brewer. 
Troy Davis
Troy you know about.  I've written about him before (see here).  He probably didn't murder Officer Mark MacPhail (though it's at least possible that he did) back in 1989.
When he was tried and sentenced to be murdered, the evidence of his guilt was pretty good.  Since then, that evidence has mostly dissolved.  There's way more than reasonable doubt now.  If the case were tried today, by competent lawyers, he'd be found not guilty.
More, there's now a pretty good case that the actual killer was a guy named Sylvester Coles.
But Troy is dead.  Because really, the jury spoke.  You can't ask for more than that.  I mean, what's the point of a guilty verdict if it can be overturned just because the guy is probably innocent?  We have to kill him because . . . . Wait, it'll come to me.
So you know about Troy Davis.  His execution was actually delayed a few hours, members of the execution team whittling good sharp sticks or playing gin rummy or cleaning their toenails.  Or maybe calling home.
Honey, I'm running late.  The Supreme Court can't decide whether to let us commit murder tonight.  We're just hanging around until they let us go for it.  I'll be home after the killing.  Kiss the kids for me.
Maybe not.  In any event, they finally got their chance a little after 11.  
Kim Severson in the Times: 
Mr. Davis remained defiant at the end, according to reporters who witnessed his death. He looked directly at the members of the family of Mark MacPhail, the officer he was convicted of killing, and told them they had the wrong man.
“I did not personally kill your son, father, brother,” he said. “All I can ask is that you look deeper into this case so you really can finally see the truth.”
He then told his supporters and family to “keep the faith” and said to prison personnel, “May God have mercy on your souls; may God bless your souls.” 
On the other hand:
Inside the prison, Officer MacPhail’s widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said calling Mr. Davis a victim was ludicrous.
“We have lived this for 22 years,” she said on Monday. “We are victims.”
She added: “We have laws in this land so that there is not chaos. We are not killing Troy because we want to.”
Oh.  It's because . . . . Gee, it still hasn't come to me.
Larry Brewer
Larry Brewer is the other guy, the one I haven't written about before, the one you probably don't know.
But if you don't know him, you probably know what he did.   Michael Graczyk for AP:
White supremacist gang member Lawrence Russell Brewer was executed Wednesday evening for the infamous dragging death slaying of James Byrd Jr., a black man from East Texas.
Byrd, 49, was chained to the back of a pickup truck and pulled whip-like to his death along a bumpy asphalt road in one of the most grisly hate crime murders in recent Texas history.
There were three men in that pickup:  Brewer, the driver; John King, still appealing his death sentence; and Shawn Berry who knew Byrd and invited him into the truck for a ride home.  Unlike the others, Berry got a life sentence.
Brewer had no last words.  But he spoke to a TV reporter in July.  The LA Times summarized the interview.
[H]e admitted driving the truck but said he was not responsible for killing Byrd.
"I know in my heart I participated in assaulting him, but I had nothing to do with the killing as far as dragging him or driving the truck or anything," Brewer said.
Brewer told KFDM that he was willing to die.
"I'm for the death penalty. I feel that if you take a life you should pay for it by taking your own life if you're actually guilty of taking a life," Brewer said.
He also said that for him, the death penalty will be a relief.
"This is a good out for me," he said. "I don't want a life sentence, period, with or without parole. I wouldn't be happy with that.
Good to know that Brewer was pleased to be getting murdered.  But if Brewer was happy enough, not so Byrd's family.  Holly Nees of KTRE-TV:
"I have forgiven Lawrence Brewer because in order for me to hate him, that's exactly what happened to my dad," Byrd's daughter Renee Mullins said.
"We forgave him," Boatner said. "We didn't convict him."
"I do pray that the Lord search his heart even though what he did was not right at all," Byron's childhood friend Sharon Whitaker said.
Brewer's punishment puts a spotlight back on Jasper. Many say although racism still exists, the stigma is changing.
Boatner said Jasper has come so far since Byrd's gruesome death, but she said the town has a ways to go and it starts with education.
As far as the punishment, a life for a life, Byrd's daughter said Brewer's death won't bring her father back.
"I don't want him to die because it's easy," Mullins said. "All he's going to do is go to sleep. My father didn't have that choice to go to sleep."
One more time. . . . It'll come to me.

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