MIAMI, July 16 -- One day before he was to die by lethal injection, convicted cop killer Troy Davis received a 90-day stay of execution Monday from a Georgia clemency board, allowing him time to press his case that he has been the victim of mistaken identity.
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While there are many tragedies within the larger sequence of events surrounding this case, one issue that does not receive a lot of attention is the impact on the family and friends of both the victim and the Mr. Davis. It seems that every emotion is potentially magnified in cases where the identity of the killer remains in question.
On the one hand, based on published statements, the victim's wife seems to be convinced that Troy Davis is the real killer. The family has been waiting for 16 years for resolution to the case If that is ever possible). No one but other individuals who have lost a relative or close friend to violent crime can have any appreciation for the range of emotions at this critical time. The uncertainty of the ending, complicated by the claims of innocence and the national and international publicity, can only add to the anguish.
On the other hand, is the criminal justice system reaching out to Mr. Davis' family? What must they be feeling, especially coming within one day of the execution. What were the visits to death row like, given the cloud of failed due process that has enveloped this family?
I don't pretend to speak for either of the families or to even suggest what they should be thinking or feeling. I hope that no one ever has to experience what these two families have had to endure, but unfortunately, that will not be the reality. The issue of innocence and its impact on both families and Mr. Davis is a matter that should concern us all. The damage from this case, especially if it does turn out that an innocent person was nearly executed, is evident in the comments attributed to the family.