This story ends with the execution of Troy Davis.
It begins with a former Illinois governor, who was pro-death penalty, and saw the life of a woman worth saving in 1996.
I was scheduled to help cover the execution of Guin Garcia, as an intern for the Bloomington-Normal, Ill. Pantagraph. I worked out of the Pontiac, Ill., bureau back then.
I was excited and ecstatic to cover something this big as an intern. I was to focus on the crowd outside and their reaction. I was literally scared about this assignment. The surroundings of the prison grounds at Stateville Correctional Center were only known to me from television coverage, usually after a riot.
My bureau chief/mentor gave me an idea of what to expect. Protesters, both for and against the death penalty, cover both sides if you can was his advice.
I was all set to do so. I heard, in between classes, that the governor had commuted Garcia's sentence. I didn't sleep the night before, I was full of caffeine, and was rarin' to go and quite frankly was pissed that the governor commuted her sentence.
I wouldn't get the story. I was hungry for her death because of the story/stories that would follow from this woman, who I didn't know and lived in the prison in the town I grew up in.
Her commutation was early on in my internship. I'd like to say I was young, but I wasn't. Naive, eager; willing to prove my mettle as a budding reporter, absolutely.
I was wrong. I shouldn't have wanted this woman's death, she hadn't harmed me, I didn't know her...
If I had known then, I would have been ashamed. I am ashamed I wanted this woman's death to get the story, 15 years later. Fifteen years too long.
The Garcia case really was open and shut, yet she had a troubled past, to say the least. She admitted to killing her daughter and her husband. She was convicted and served time for killing her daughter. She was convicted and sentenced to death for killing her husband. She wanted to die; Gov. Edgar said at the time it wasn't up to the state to grant this woman's wish.
So, why didn't Troy Davis receive the same consideration?
Why is he now dead at the hands of the executioner of the state of Georgia?
He was convicted by a jury. I can stand by that. That same jury said he deserved to die. I can understand that based on the information given to them for consideration during his trial.
However, based on the coverage I've seen the last few weeks, the jury wasn't given the whole story and 7 of the 9 eyewitnesses recanted their testimony a few said they were coerced into identifying Davis as the shooter of Officer Mark McPhail.
Even the ballistics information that was given at trial was found to be erroneous.
With all of this doubt, why couldn't the state of Georgia have halted this man's execution to make absolutely sure that Davis was actually the shooter?That they were putting the right man to death for for murdering Officer McPhail?
Where was Troy's Gov. Edgar? He couldn't even get a reprieve from the Supreme Court, just a four hour waiting period before those drugs were injected into him.
I rejoice in finding out that Guin Garcia has found life fulfilling. I hadn't visited her case since my internship ended.
I grieve for the murder of Troy Davis, because he should have been able to have the same ending Guin did.
Guin is alive because a true compassionate, conservative, governor saw worth in her life.
Where has the compassion gone in this day of grief?
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