Apr 28 2007
10:38 am

Deadly Silence - Proof Of Innocent Man On Death Row 11:13

Workman is scheduled to be executed on May 9. Please watch this video so you can see he is most likely innocent of the crime for which he is going to be executed on May 9.

The "eye witness" was not at the crime scene. Is that not enough to call this into question?

Help! Contact Governor Bredesen

Governor's Office
Tennessee State Capitol
Nashville, TN 37243-0001

Phone: 615.741.2001
Fax: 615.532.9711

Socialist With A Gold Card's picture

Justice? What's that?

Here's some more info about the Workman case:

Since the trial, however, Harold Davis [the only eyewitness] has retracted his testimony, saying he lied. No one, including police officers and civilians, saw Davis at the scene and his car was not where he claimed to have parked it. An eyewitness has come forward to say that at least one of the other officers fired his gun. This is corroborated by the first police reports, which stated that officers were firing. Medical experts have stated that the fatal wound, to a degree of medical certainty, was not caused by Workman's bullet, raising the possibility that Lt Oliver was killed by a shot fired by one of the other officers.

Five jurors from the original trial have signed affidavits that they would not have voted for a first-degree murder conviction, let alone the death sentence, if they had been presented with this evidence. Two state Supreme Court judges have suggested that clemency is merited in Workman's case.


In 2000, Lt Oliver's daughter and the daughter of Philip Workman united at a press conference to appeal to the Governor to grant clemency. The former District Attorney of Shelby County, the office which prosecuted Philip Workman, came forward in 2000 to oppose the execution because of the post-conviction evidence. He donated his services as lead counsel on the clemency bid.

Given all the doubts in this case, clemency seems like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, way too many people in this state see the death penalty as being "tough on crime," rather than the barbaric practice it really is. The death penalty isn't justice -- it's merely vengeance in service of a blood lust.

Bredesen should grant clemency in this case, and Workman should be given a new trial.

--Socialist With A Gold Card

"I'm a socialist with a gold card. I firmly believe we need a revolution; I'm just concerned that I won't be able to get good moisturizer afterwards." -- Brett Butler

Lawrencio MacEanruig's picture

Re Workman Execution

He's Black right? And poor? Close enough. EXECUTE HIM!

captainkona's picture


I have written Bredesen on behalf of this issue.
I hope it helps. Workman needs to remain locked up, but death is simply not just in this case.
Even if it may be, to err on the side of compassion is better than the alternative.

Just this morning, Nikolaus Johnson was sentenced to die for the murder of officer Mark Vance here in Bristol. Though I do not approve of state sponsored DP, Johnson is guilty incontrovertibly. I cannot oppose his sentence.

Workman is a very different case. His sentence should be commuted to Life Without Parole.

"The mind is like a parachute, it only works when it's open."

R. Neal's picture

A recent Facing South post

A recent Facing South post re. the TN moratorium, an ABA study of the TN death penalty, and their call to extend the moratorium and expand the investigation:


A previous Facing South post re. death penalty problems around the South:


Updated link to the McClatchy Newspapers investigative report mentioned in that post:


Even if it can't be abolished (which it should), the death penalty has serious problems that need to be fixed. There is no equal justice in capital cases (or any justice at all, really).

River Dog's picture

Workman was on the way to Sunday School and was framed

Workman was on his way to Sunday school that day and those cops were out target practicing nearby in a parking lot. After they shot each other they saw Workman climbing out of a tree, from saving a cat, and giving money to an orphan kid while helping a blind lady cross the street. Workman was just minding his own business and those gunslinging cops framed him.

My point is this. Workman committed a series of crimes that day and caused the chain of events to unfold. Had he not done that would the cop still be alive? If the answer is NO then let him off the hook. If the answer is yes, then he bought the ticket so let him ride.

S Carpenter's picture

Sarcasm aside please

River Dog,

Do you have confidence in the evidence presented by the state at trial? Do you really believe that Workman's crime is among the "worst of the worst" that merit execution by Tenn. law?

Please look at the video. I do not believe you will be able to answer that you do have confidence in either the state's proof or that the crime is among the worst of the worst.

In either case, Workman should not be executed.

S Carpenter

River Dog's picture

He said he did it

He admitted during his trial that he fired the shot that killed Oliver on Aug. 5, 1981, after robbing a Wendy's restaurant at 3275 Thomas of about $1,170. Workman, who wounded another officer and was shot himself, said he had been using cocaine that day and that he did not intend to kill Oliver.

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee

R. Neal's picture

So let's say he did it, and

So let's say he did it, and they've got it on video, and they've got numerous signed confessions.

Now justify the death penalty for Workman or anyone else.

River Dog's picture

They are escape risks and

They are escape risks and will kill again even on life sentences. I found a few examples in about 2 seconds on Google. I know of several more. In Tennessee for example in Brownsville at the Fort Pillow Prison two convicted murderers who had their sentences changed to life escaped and killed a man in his back yard as he was cooking out at a family outing. They kidnapped his wife.

Please see the attached:

One of three convicted murderers who escaped from the Union Correctional Institution early today killed two persons, including a state trooper, and held a mother and her baby hostage before he was apprehended, prison officials said.


A police helicopter and bloodhounds searched for an escaped prisoner who fatally shot his former wife and two others early today but left two teen-agers unharmed, the authorities said.


Friday morning, Nichols overpowered a deputy on the way to court, then shot Fulton County Superior Court Judge Rowland W. Barnes and court reporter Julie Ann Brandau before killing another deputy while fleeing the building, Atlanta police said.

A search for Nichols is under way in Georgia and the neighboring states of Alabama, Tennessee and the Carolinas. He is described as being a black male, 33 years old, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 210 pounds

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee
Expert opinions, final word, I know it all

River Dog's picture

I appreciate the debate.

I appreciate the debate. However, I'm a victim's advocate not a criminal's advocate.

Please consider public safety your safety and of people who have their lives destroyed by the Phillip Workman's of the world. Convicted murderers have a track record of killing people. In prison or outside they are a risk.

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee
Expert opinions, final word, I know it all

R. Neal's picture

Opponents of the death

Opponents of the death penalty aren't criminal advocates (unless they are underpaid, overworked public defenders assigned randomly to capital cases, and even they are actually justice advocates). Some are just society advocates.

UnderDuress's picture

Heaven forbid we should kill

Heaven forbid we should kill a killer! So barbaric!

But it's just peachy-keen to have an abortion, right?

(For the record, I am FOR reproductive rights. I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of the anti-DP crowd here)

R. Neal's picture

But it's just peachy-keen to

But it's just peachy-keen to have an abortion, right?

Not necessarily. It's a terrible thing, for the mother and everyone involved, especially as a form of birth control.

But it's not up to me. It's between a woman and her physician, and/or her family and/or clergy if she so chooses. Not me or a bunch of old white male gasbags running our government.

redmondkr's picture

He's Caucasian,

Andy Axel's picture

Due Process

(For the record, I am FOR reproductive rights. I am just pointing out the hypocrisy of the anti-DP crowd here)

The unborn aren't entitled to due process.

Amendment XIV, Sect. 1: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


Georgia's in Florida, dumbass!

S Carpenter's picture


Bredesen will allow the moratorium on executions to expire tomorrow, May 2.

This brings added urgency to our plea for clemency for Phillip Workman, who is to be executed on May 9.

Please consider whether justice requires adding your voice to those who have already requested that the Governor commute Workman's death sentence to one of life imprisonment (51 years before eligibility for parole).

River Dog's picture

It's sad for a lot of people but good bye

Phil did this to himself.

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee

S Carpenter's picture

River Dog, you have no idea

River Dog, you have no idea how arbitrarily decisions about the death penalty are made. Workman deserves severe punishment for his actions. His actions are not the worst of the worst and his trial was unfairly conducted. Aside from whether we morally should kill people as a society, the process of administering the death penalty in Tennessee is broken.

Bbeanster's picture

Despite a sworn duty to be

Despite a sworn duty to be impartial and to listen to both sides before rendering a decision, one 2001 parole board member's statement announcing her decision was pre-written. How is that any less a violation of a sworn promise than perjury?
I am ambivalent about the death penalty, but I wonder how applying it unfairly and in a way that is not according to law is anything less than a crime.
And is not a crime committed with cool deliberation and forethought much worse than a crime of passion?
I expect a higher standard of behavior from Phil Bredesen than I did of Don Sundquist. Am I wrong?

River Dog's picture

Worst of the Worst??

Killing someone during a robbery if that doesn't rank "worst of the worst" (as one of my articulant fellow blogger puts it) what would be "worst of the worst" ?

You are assigning higher value on the killer's life. What would you do with a rabid dog? keep it in your house for the rest of its life?

In this particular case he admitted to pulling the trigger?

River Dog
Professor of Dogology, Emeritus
University of Tennessee

Kaos's picture

re: worst of the worst??

killing some one no matter what is horrible.... if you did it... the fact is (or lack there of) is that this man didn't. testimonies have been corrupted, facts left out or "made up". there are to many incosistancies in this case to warrant a death sentance, prison time yes...death no!!!

p.s. i think river dog has had one to many leeches if you know what i mean

Kaos's picture

"It is better to remain

"It is better to remain silent and thought to be a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt"-----proverb

some people hear should read this

ultron's picture

Hear hear!

Hear hear!

River Dog's picture

Stifle those who disagree

So those not sharing your enlightened and progressive viewpoint are suppressed and not allowed to speak. Hmm, okay I see.

Carole Borges's picture

Putting aniyone to death wihtout DNA proof is wrong

Statistics about escapees show that only a tiny fraction of the maximum security prison inmates actually escape. It's not like they are skipping out every time you turn around.

"Federal prison breakouts are rarer than state prison escapes. One federal prisoner escaped and was recaptured in 1999, out of a prison population of more than 115,000. He was the only one to escape in the past four years."

When it comes to the death penalty, you either believe in taking a life or not taking a life, and I'm not talking about zygotes either. In humans, the embryo is defined as the product of conception from implantation in the uterus through the eighth week of development. That's when it becomes a fetus. I'm not into killing fetus', but I am less inclined to feel early abortion is evil. I feel that's a matter of choice because too many unwanted children are born every year. Babies born to drug addicted or alcoholic parents tend to live tortured lives and cost society a lot of money. Nobody wants to adopt them either. Certainly the right-to-life politically conservative group are the last people who should claim to care about children as they tend to vote against almost everything that can help them. They have a romance with fetus', but are the coldest hearts on earth when it comes to denying a child who is born to a poor person a chance to live a happy fufilling life. They also have no qualms about sending our babies off to war for false reasons, and they usually vote against any government spending that would provide free anything to babies of the poor.

I would not choose to have an abortion (my seven pregnancies will attest to that), but I fully support those women who choose that path because I know most women take abortion very seriously and would not do it for casual reasons.

People talk about imprisonment costing a lot, but the jails are overflowing with non-violent offenders--mostly black, many pot smokers, and some wrongfully accused. Room could be made to house more violent offenders if they would stop throwing people into jail. America is right up there with Russia and China for having the highest prison populations. Yet, most of the world looks at America as a very violent place where people are always gunning each other down, even the kids.

I'd like to see more violent offenders, whether they are priests, celebrities, politicans or just people who can hire expensive lawyers, sentenced to life when they deserve it.

I don't support the death penalty because I don't believe that is really a solution to crime. It has proved not to be a deterrent. I also feel it's really awful to kill those who are wrongfully sentenced to death (there are less of these now that we have DNA tests).

Our current laws, which we as a group make, do demand we kill people who commit certain crimes, but no one should be put to death unless DNA evidence can prove conclusively they are guilty.

Once we start not caring that a few mistakes are made in this regard then we begin to endanger all of us because any one of us can be falsely accused of a crime. Granted this is less likely if we are middle-class or white, but it still can and does happen.

Unless there is DNA evidence in this man's case, he should not be put to death. There are too many unresolved questions.

River Dog's picture


Workman admitted in court and pled guilty to firing the fatal round. DNA would not be a factor in this evidence since the round does not have human tissue.

A cadre of lawyers subsequently took this case and have made this man a celebrity for engaging in a robbery shoot out where one person died. He cause all of this. He Phillip Workman caused all of his own problems and caused the chain of events to take place.

I am trying to understand the thinking process of why first of all people defend this man and worry his fate. Secondly, why they seem to negate the death of the person Workman killed as if his life did not have any value. Seems the priorities of society are reversed and it becomes a cause to have cause. Oppositional culture at best which seems to be the thread on the blogs I read here.

Carole Borges's picture

No DNA? Then no death sentence...

I don't think it is only Workman's life that causes people concern. It's the questionable ability we have to be certain people are actually guilty. Obviously you somehow think this could never happen to you or a loved one, but that's just plain naive. It does happen. It could happen to you tomorrow, and if it did would you just slink off into the death chamber? I suspect you'd be mighty glad people on the outside cared about justice enough to try to stop the state from murdering you.

I don't remember anything about Workman saying he killed the victim. Where did you see that?

River Dog's picture

Thanks for the discussion

I like debating the points, but not the fact that a person was killed or another person is facing the death sentence.

The death penalty will always be an emotional issue, and I appreciate both sides. I will always advocate for the victim and that people should be accountable for their bad behavior.

Reading and responding to the blogs on this site is interesting and it keeps me thinking. I appreciate the points raised.

Kaos's picture

debating the points

talking is one thing, action is another. if a person is to be executed then the evidence should contain no doubt in anyones mind that the said person comitted the act resulting in anothers death. the fact remains that there is abundant doubt in this case, as well as others. therefore a stay of execution should be implimented until all evidence has been proven or disproven, there by extinguishing the doubt from case. it is beyond me how the justice system can take a persons life with out fully determining the guilt or innocence of that person. Also, if a person is executed, when in fact they are innocent, why is the system not held respocible? why is it that there are so many falty convictions in our system?

eyewitness tesstimony is the most unreliable sort of evidence....everyone sees something different. if you have an accident and 10 people see the accident you will get 10 different variations of what happened. and in this case the only "eyewitness" in the case was not only found to be unreliable, but it was later found out that he was not even present at the sene. there by purgering him self.

i can only hope that i never get into any sort of situation where i am faced with an eyewitness to somthing that suppossedly happend....heaven help me... and those who have be jailed by the "reliable eyewitness".

So, that being said, i feel that you can not execute a person based on insofficant facts and testimony....DNA or some other form of solid forensic evidence, i.e. bullistics, need to be present befor the final judgement of death can be issued in this case or any other.

those are my points in a nut shell....belive what you wish but i can not justify it without solid evidance.


Volcano and Valley Landing's picture

"It is better to remain

"It is better to remain silent and thought to be a fool, then to speak and remove all doubt"-----proverb

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