|Troy Davis: Did the state have enough evidence to execute him?|
According to a NY Times article, Troy Davis maintained his innocence until the very end. Moments before he was killed via lethal injection, Davis looked directly at MacPhail's family and said, " I did not personally kill your son, father, brother. All I can ask is that you look deeper into this case so you really can finally see the truth." Davis also said to prison personnel, "May God have mercy on your souls; May God bless your souls."
I think capital punishment is an incredibly complicated matter. There have been times in my life when I was adamantly opposed to the death penalty. In addition to the larger moral arguments about whether or not governments should decide issues of life and death, I feel that the criminal justice system is far from full-proof, which makes capital punishment a particularly steep outcome for many who are sentenced to death. For example, organizations like the Innocence Project have used DNA and other methods to exonerate wrongfully convicted death row inmates in recent years.
The Davis case has also got me thinking about other, related issues that are inspired by my fieldwork with families of murder victims in Philadelphia. During the past couple years, I've learned about the lifelong challenges facing families of murder victims. I can't do this topic any sense of justice here, but feel that it's important to remember that many families never feel a sense of closure and peace--particularly in cases that go cold after time. Families who attend hearings, appeals, sentencing, and executions also don't feel entirely resolved; while these methods are intended to bring about a sense of closure, they are a poor substitute for the mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, aunt, uncle, of friend who is no longer with them. And while some families are able to resume a semblance of their former lives, many live with deep emotional and psychological scars that leave them broken and changed forever. Not surprisingly, these lingering issues have spillover effects into the working lives, personal relationships, and physical/mental health of victim's families.
|Mark MacPhail was brutally murdered while working a night security job|
Mark MacPhail was a husband and father of two small children when he was murdered. While many of the world's most visible newspapers are using the Davis execution to talk about larger issues of racial injustice and the moral implications of capital punishment, it seems that we have all forgotten about the MacPhail family.
Indeed, the NY Times article cited above has a few passing quotes about how MacPhail's family has felt in the week leading up to Davis' execution. To find out more about MacPhail's family, one might have to look in alternative media sources like The Peach Pundit. Apparently, the pain and suffering that MacPhail's family has endured isn't "newsworthy."
Although the experiences of victim's families may not produce the sound bites and stuff that produces popular headlines, their stories are an important--and often neglected--part of murder cases.