Troy Davis' attorney ended the two-day hearing that could determine whether he'll be freed from prison or executed by telling a federal judge that police ignored the real killer responsible for the death of a police officer.
The prosecution claims that all of the testimony presented to the court was rehashed hearsay, including testimony that another man, not Davis, fired the fatal shot that killed the officer.
"This was their chance," Beth Attaway Burton, senior assistant attorney general, told U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. "Their standard is extremely high. They have not met it."
Indeed, the standard for the rare hearing is extremely high. Instead of just having to prove that the case against Davis was flawed, his team has to prove his innocence. The U.S. Supreme Court took the rare step of ordering the hearing after Davis had run out of appeal options on the lower level.
Davis, who has been on death row for two decades, has been scheduled for execution three times. His pleas for innocence have drawn international attention.
Davis was convicted of murdering off-duty Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1991. His conviction was based solely on the testimony of nine witnesses and included no physical evidence. The gun used in the shooting was never recovered.
One of the witnesses who testified at Davis' original trial was a man some claim later admitted to the shooting.
Since then, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their testimony, saying police coerced them to testify against Davis in the hopes of winning a swift conviction. Four of those witnesses testified at Davis' hearing this week.
The Savannah detective who investigated the case denied rushing to solve the crime.
"I was in no rush," detective Greg Ramsey said. "I absolutely wanted the right guy. I'd rather the right guy got away 100 times than get someone I didn't think was the right person."
The real victims in this are the families. One family lost their son to a shooting, and it is possible that the real killer was not punished for his crimes.
"The hardest thing for us was to look at Troy Davis, sitting right there," said the slain officer's mother, Anneliese MacPhail. "He is alive, and my son is dead. And my son left a family."
Another family lost their son to death row for a crime that he may not have committed.
"You cannot correct an injustice with another injustice," said Davis' sister Martina Correia. "All we're asking for is a fair shake."
No date for the judge's ruling has been set.