Troy Davis executed in Georgia as pleas for clemency fail
Troy Davis, the Georgia man controversially sentenced to death for the 1989 slaying of a Savannah police officer, was executed by lethal injection at a state prison in Jackson, Ga., at 11:08 p.m. EST, officials said.
The execution was delayed more than three hours while the U.S. Supreme Court considered his attorneys' petition for a stay.
Davis had maintained his innocence in the slaying of Mark MacPhail, who was killed while trying to break up a fight while off duty.
After Davis' 1991 trial, several key witnesses recanted statements that helped convince the jury of his guilt. But a federal judge who heard the new evidence in 2010 called it "largely smoke and mirrors."
A worldwide campaign had sought clemency for Davis, and a number of high-profile leaders raised questions about his guilt, including liberals like former President Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and conservatives like William Sessions, the former head of the FBI under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
After the state parole board denied Davis' clemency request Tuesday, human rights activists mounted last-ditch efforts to save him. Laura Moye of Amnesty International USA called the board's decision "an international human rights scandal."
On Wednesday, both the Georgia Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his petitions. The parole board also refused to reconsider.
The U.S. Supreme Court mulled the petition for more than four hours but issued a one-sentence ruling:
"The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the court is denied."
MacPhail's widow and two adult children had said they would attend the execution. His mother -- who, like the rest of the family, was convinced of Davis' guilt -- said she would not.
“I don't get any satisfaction from seeing him die," Anneliese MacPhail recently told Columbus, Ga., television station WRBL. "I just want it over."
The Georgia Department of Corrections said Davis declined to request a last meal, so he was to receive grilled cheeseburgers, oven-browned potatoes, baked beans, coleslaw, cookies and a grape drink.
-- Richard Fausset in Jackson, Ga.
Photo: Death penalty foes in Jackson, Ga., chant "Let Troy Go," referring to Troy Davis. Credit: Stephen Morton / Associated Press