A Letter to Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia
Dear Governor Deal,
I am writing as the survivor of a murdered family member to ask you to spare the life of Troy Davis. I understand the feelings of people who favor the death penalty, though my religion forbids it, because 29 years ago, my only brother, Paul, was murdered. My entire family narrowly missed my brother's fate. The killers came looking for Paul at my parents' home, while my children were visiting there, just minutes after Paul had left. If Paul's killers had arrived in time to find him, they would have left no witnesses. So I understand the feelings of the McPhail Family, and their friends and supporters. But my loss has taught me something else that is just as important.
Death is the most final thing in this world. Once someone dies, by whatever means, that person is not coming back. Neither Mark McPhail nor my brother will ever be back in our lives or able to continue their own lives. So in taking a human life, we are doing the most serious act anyone can commit. And I use the word "we" for a reason. The execution of any person is the collaborative act of our entire society. It is "we" who kill that person.
It follows that such a radical act, if it is to be done at all, must be done in the complete certainty of the condemned person's guilt. And in the case of Troy Davis, that certainty does not exist.
You are aware of the issues. You know about the witnesses who have retracted their testimony. You know about one of the two witnesses who did not retract--himself a suspect in the murder of Officer McPhail. And you are fully aware that the prosecutor and several of the jurors, who did the best they could at the time of the trial, now say that, in light of all the facts we have today, Mr. Davis should not have been convicted at all.
Please act in true courage, on the side of prudence and righteousness, and spare the life of this man who may very well be innocent.
Most sincerely yours,
Tina Maria Braxton
Sister of Paul Millard Braxton (1956-1982)