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Wrongfully Convicted: As Growing Evidence of Police Misconduct in 1996 Murder Case Emerges, Scott Davis Pushes for New Trial; Latest Appeal Filed July 26
Missing Gun, Edited Audiotape, Lost Fingerprint Evidence, Discredited Police Testimony Among Issues Indicating Wrongful Murder Conviction; Reward Raised to $500,000
ATLANTA, August 21, 2012 -- Scott Davis, convicted in 2006 of the 1996 murder of David Coffin, Jr., has been fighting for six years to prove his innocence. New evidence, presented in court in late 2011, strongly indicates a deliberate disregard for correct evidence handling procedures and incompetence by Atlanta police and other state agencies in the case against Davis. He seeks to have his conviction overturned or have the chance for a new trial.
In the 2011 filings, attorneys for Davis presented evidence of multiple, deliberate violations of standard operating procedure (SOP) in the case. Evidence expert and former police officer Robert A. Doran testified for the defense that the handling of evidence in this case was the “worst (he had) ever seen.”
Overall Mishandling of Evidence
• Photos provided by a former Atlanta Police Department (APD) Evidence Room Commander showed evidence in the room unsecured, falling off shelves, mixed, contaminated and unlabeled.
• Former AFD employee Linda Tolbert admitted that she lied on an affidavit she provided concerning what happened to the alleged murder weapon. She testified that Fulton Co. Investigator Chris Harvey intimidated her to do so.
Mishandling of Fingerprint Evidence
• GBI Latent Print Examiner Al Pryor admitted to dozens of SOP violations concerning how unidentified latent prints found at the crime scene (known to be from someone other than Scott Davis) were mishandled. Pryor admitted to not running the prints through AFIS despite having them for more than nine years.
• Pryor also admitted to intentionally destroying the fingerprint cards due to “age,” also against SOP in an open homicide case. No backups were made of the prints.
Mishandling of Gun Evidence
• A key prosecution witness, gun examiner Bernadette Davy, faked or was incorrect in her conclusions in more than 13 percent of her cases according to an audit by the GBI. Davy was terminated by the GBI in 2009 and many of her cases are under review.
Alteration of Audio Tapes
• Forensic audio expert James A. Griffin of Forensic AVI analyzed the tape of Davis’ December 10th, 1996 interview that was used at trial by Fulton County prosecutors, provided by APD Homicide detectives Rick Chambers and Marchel Walker. Griffin determined the tape was edited and erased over, as well as stopped and started multiple times (all against SOP).
• Griffin also determined there was a second tape recorded simultaneously. Neither of the unaltered tapes or their complete transcripts has ever been produced by the State. Davis has repeatedly asserted that the unaltered tapes contain both his exculpatory answers and multiple illegal threats against him by Detective Chambers.
In 1996, David Coffin, Jr. was murdered in his Buckhead home, which was set afire to hide evidence of the crime. Scott Davis was initially arrested by police, but authorities found no evidence linking him to the murder and all charges were dropped. But nine years later in 2005, Davis was re-arrested for the murder and charged. After four days of jury deliberation, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in December 2006.
Davis has maintained his innocence from the very beginning of this case and maintains it today. He has repeatedly said, “All I have ever wanted was a fair trial to prove my innocence. Instead, I got one tainted by altered or missing evidence as well as by perjury of the detectives and witnesses. I am innocent and I deserve a new trial.”
A web site, http://freescottdavis.org, allows people to review information on his case, submit leads, provide information regarding the location of missing evidence or leads on other suspects. The reward fund will pay up to $500,000 for information that leads to his full exoneration and freedom and proves his innocence. The family and supporters seek information on other suspects, missing evidence, or misconduct by prosecutors. Information can also be called into (866) 474-1288 or (404) 474-1288.
Anyone with information in the case can send leads via email at Reward@FreeScottDavis.org or through the web site at www.FreeScottDavis.org.
Case Number: S12H1845
Style: Davis v. Howerton, Warden
Description: Civil - Habeas Corpus Application
Docket Date: July 26, 2012
Calendar: Oral Argument Date:
County Location: Gwinnett
Lower Court Numbers: 10A074612