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Troy Davis asks U.S. Supreme Court to halt execution

September 21, 2011 |  4:05 pm


As Troy Davis' date with death approached, his lawyers filed a two-page motion with the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a last-minute stay of execution.
With execution set for 7 p.m. EDT, the lawyers said they would soon file a more substantial appeal citing “constitutional errors” that have arisen in the case.

Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Savannah, Ga., police Officer Mark MacPhail, but maintains his innocence. After his 1991 trial, some witnesses recanted their testimony.

Two years ago, the high court took the unusual step of ordering a federal judge in Savannah to review the evidence in Davis’ case and to decide whether new testimony undercut his guilt. But after hearing the witnesses, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore described the new evidence as “largely smoke and mirrors” and upheld Davis’s death sentence.

Since then, the high court has turned away further appeals from Davis.

Earlier Wednesday, the Georgia Supreme Court refused to intervene.


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-- David G. Savage in Washington

Photo: Police guard the street to Georgia's Jackson State Prison, where convicted killer Troy Davis is scheduled to die. Credit: Jessica McGowan / Getty Images