Troy Anthony Davis, convicted of murdering a police officer in 1989, was executed by lethal injection Wednesday night in Georgia.
ABC news reports that Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. ET, following a four-hour delay allowed for legal review of his case while the US Supreme Court turned down the request for stay of execution. Davis had been convicted of shooting down an off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail on August 19, 1989 in Savannah, Georgia. Davis, then 20 years old, was arrested by the police on August 23, 1989, acting on the implication by a witness. At the preliminary hearing of his case, in April 1990, Davis pleaded not guilty.
In August 1991, Davis was found guilty by the jury which deliberated on the case and evidences for less than two hours. The jury recommended death penalty for Davis, which the court decreed. After getting his request for a new trail rejected, Davis appealed to the federal district court on the basis that most of the witnesses had recanted their testimony; the jury selection was also claimed by Davis to have been unfair. His appeals were rejected at all courts and he was sentenced to be executed on July 17, 2007. A three-month stay in execution was, however, granted shortly before the scheduled time of execution after numerous appeals were made by notable people from around the world.
In August 2007, Davis was granted an appeal for a new trial based on the reason of mistaken identity. His appeal was rejected again in 2008 by the Georgia Supreme Court and September 23, 2008 was fixed as his new execution date. Upon a last minute appeal, his execution was pushed ahead by a month. Again a stay of execution was issued in October 2008 and appeals from Davis were considered and rejected till August 2009, when the US Supreme Court ordered a Savannah federal district court for starting a new hearing of the case. In June 2010, a panel concluded that only one witness had wholly recanted its testimony in the case.
Davis filed a new appeal with the US Supreme Court in January 2011, which was rejected in March. On September 7, 2011, Davis’s execution was scheduled for September 21, 2011, a date that would end the two-decade long trial with the execution of Troy Davis via lethal injection.
CL Atlanta reports that Davis’s supporters in Atlanta were hopeful early on September 21st evening about the possibility of Supreme Court intervening in the impending execution. Hundreds of people kept chanting and praying outside in support of Davis.
In his final words, Davis maintained that he was innocent. Addressing Officer MacPhail’s family, he said, “I'm not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent.” He appealed to his family and friends to continue to fight this case. To his executioners, he said, “May God bless your souls.”