9.21.11 11:40 p.m. EST]----Despite last minute desperate attempts to save his life, and after prolonged years on death row, Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday September 21, in Jackson, Georgia.
His last words were reportedly," God bless your souls." Davis maintained his innocence and sent messages to his family telling them to pray and also to the family of the murdered cop, the MacPhails, praying they find the person who did it. He said he did not have a gun and did not kill Mark MacPhail.
The slain officer's son and brother were reportedly present at the execution.
Earlier in the day and into the night, hundreds of supporters chanting, "Troy is us" gathered outside the Jackson, Georgia prison in solidarity, hoping for a miracle when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a last minute appeal. Unfortunately, Davis was not spared for the Court rejected the plea.
Controversy swirled around this judgement, for many believe Davis to be innocent. High profile supporters like Pope Benedict XV1, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. President Jimmy Carter,and retired FBI Director William Sessions all pleaded for mercy.
Davis was convicted of killing off-duty police officer, Mark MacPhail in 1991. Below is Davis's last words:
"I'd like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know despite the situation you are in, I am not the one who personally killed your son, father, your brother. I am innocent. The incident that happened that night was not my fault. I did not have a gun..all I can ask is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally know the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls."
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9.21.11----Convicted of the 1989 killing of a cop in Savannah, Georgia, death-row inmate Troy Davis who was scheduled to be executed today September 21 at 7:00 p.m., was granted a 3 hour reprieve as the Supreme Court heard the case. Unfortunatedly, the court rejected the pleas around 10:15 Wednesday night.
Hundreds of supporters surrounded the Jackson, Georgia prison, chanting "we are Troy Davis," holding vigil and hoping for mercy from the Courts. Those hopes were coldly dashed and Davis has no more life-lines. He will be killed by leathal injection in 30 minutes, reports CNN..
Davis has reportedly refused his last meal. Defense lawyers, in a last desperate effort to save his life, had also offered to let Davis undergo a polygraph test earlier in the day but that too was denied.
43-year-old Davis's clemency was turned down on Tuesday by the Georgia Pardon Board despite a worldwide fight to stop it. Thousands, including high-profile advocates, even former FBI Director, William Sessions, pleaded, demonstrated, wrote letters, signed petitions and called into the Board, desperately trying to get a stay of execution, to no avail.
Spokesman for the Board of Pardon and Parole, Steve Hayes, reportedly said that after hearing hours of testimony, they decided the judgement should stand.
Davis has sat in prison, including on death row for 22 years, convicted of killing police officer 27-year-old Mark MacPhail, as the off-duty officer tried to help a homeless man being attacked.
Reports say Davis was with another man when he pistol-whipped Larry Young in a Burger King parking lot. He allegedly then shot officer MacPhail as he rushed to help the homeless Young.
Many, including his family, are terribly distraught and disappointed that the Board failed to pardon Davis but officer MacPhail's family reportedly felt relief. Seen on CNN, his mother Anneleise MacPhail said, "Justice was served." His son, who was just a baby when his father was murdered, also agreed, adding, "The truth was finally heard."
Davis has maintained his innocence and his lawyer, Jason Ewart, has argued that this was a case of mistaken identity.
A terrible tragedy occurred that night and an officer's life was cut short violently. The guilty party/parties should be punished and, as some would say, "if you do the crime, you have to do the time," but in this case there are reportedly serious "reasonable doubts." Our law says that a defendant has to be found guilty "beyond reasonable doubt," which hasn't been proven here.
Davis was convicted on the testimony of nine witnesses, for which there was reportedly no physical evidence. To date, seven of the nine witnesses have recanted their story. Over those long 22 years, starting as a young 19-year-old teenager, many have fought to get the verdict overturned or at least a new trial. All appeals failed.
Moreover, new witnesses have come forward and identified another person as the killer. So doesn't this make the verdict of absolute guilt more one of "reasonable doubt"? In 2009, the Supreme Court had ordered an evidentiary hearing but the conviction was upheld.
Davis has run out of appeals and the state of Georgia refuses to give a stay of execution and order a new trial in light of these new developments.
He has had three execution dates so far. The first was scheduled for July 17, 2007. Several prominent world heads appealed on his behalf, including Pope Benedict XV1, Archbishop and Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, singer Harry Belafonte and President Jimmy Carter, among others. He was granted a stay of execution.
Davis had two other executions dates in July and October of 2008. Several appeals helped buy Davis some more time.
This latest and last effort to get a stay of execution has also failed.
The NAACP wrote, "Guilt beyond a reasonable doubt--It's the foundation of our justice system, built to serve and protect the wrongly accused. But in the case of Troy Davis, it's a principle that has been defied, ignored and trampled on."