Georgia parole board denies clemency for Troy Davis
Georgia's parole board has denied clemency for Troy Davis, the 42-year-old man facing execution for the 1989 murder of a Savannah police officer.
The decision by the board clears the way for Davis' execution by lethal injection Wednesday evening at a state prison in Jackson, Ga.
Davis' case earned considerable international attention as it wound through the court system over two decades, and as numerous witnesses from his original trial recanted statements that had helped to convict him. Liberal voices, including former President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, raised doubts about Davis' guilt, as have conservative leaders, such as former GOP Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia.
Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty International USA, called the five-member board's decision "unconscionable" in a statement early Tuesday, urging it to reconsider and calling on Larry Chisolm, the Chatham County prosecutor, to vacate the death warrant.
"Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system," Cox said.
Davis was convicted in 1991 for the slaying of Mark MacPhail, a 27-year-old off-duty Savannah police officer who was working as a security guard when he was shot and killed while rushing to the aid of a beating victim.
On Monday evening, in a news conference outside the parole board offices, MacPhail's family, who had finished a presentation in front of the parole board, reasserted their long-held conviction that the system had identified the right man, and that Davis deserved to die.
"They heard the truth," widow Joan MacPhail-Harris said of the parole board members, " ... the truth that Troy is not innocent."
-- Richard Fausset in Atlanta
Photo: Relatives of slain off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail said they urged Georgia's parole board to deny convicted killer Troy Davis' clemency petition. From left are MacPhail's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, son Mark MacPhail Jr., wife Joan MacPhail and daughter Madison MacPhail. Credit: David Tulis / Associated Press