Troy Davis executed in Georgia amid innocence protests


Witnesses at his death said he was defiant in proclaiming his innocence to the end

Death row inmate Troy Davis has been executed in the US state of Georgia for the fatal shooting of policeman Mark MacPhail in 1989.

Davis' death was delayed for hours while the US Supreme Court considered an eleventh-hour appeal for clemency.

The 42-year-old's case was heavily disputed after most of the witnesses recanted or changed their testimony.

Inside the jail in Jackson, Georgia, Davis protested his innocence until the end as supporters protested outside.

There was a heavy police presence as hundreds held a vigil awaiting news from the US Supreme Court.

"I am innocent," Davis said moments before he was executed. "I did not have a gun."

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, but always maintained he was innocent.

The US Supreme Court judges took more than four hours to issue their rejection of the final appeal, an unusually long time for such a ruling.

"The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice [Clarence] Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied," it read.

Davis continued to protest his innocence in the death chamber.

Troy Davis Davis's execution date had already been moved several times

"For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.

"All I can ask... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight."

Davis was pronounced dead at 23:08 (03:08 GMT Thursday), 15 minutes after the lethal injection began.

Ballistic 'flawed'

MacPhail was shot dead in July 1989 as he tried to help a homeless man who was being attacked in a Burger King car park.

Prosecutors said Davis was beating the man with a gun after demanding a beer from him.

No gun was found and no DNA evidence conclusively linked Davis to the murder.

On Wednesday morning, Davis' lawyers appealed to the county court responsible for Georgia's death row, but that was also rejected.

The legal team had argued that ballistic testing from the case was flawed.

The pardons board also dismissed an appeal to reconsider their decision on Monday to deny Davis clemency.

Prosecutors said they had no doubts as to his guilt.

Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail Mark MacPhail was shot dead in 1989 as he tried to defend a homeless man

"I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened," Anneliese MacPhail, the mother of the murdered policeman, told the Associated Press news agency after Davis was killed.

"All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace."

Davis counted Pope Benedict XVI and former US President Jimmy Carter among his supporters, as well as US conservative figures like former member of the House of Representatives Bob Barr and former FBI director William Sessions.

Outside the prison, hundreds of people gathered chanting: "They say, death row; we say, hell no".

Around 10 counter-demonstrators were also present, voicing support for the death penalty and for the family of MacPhail.

There was a heavy police presence, including large numbers of riot police, but no disturbances were reported.

International protests

Davis' execution date had already been changed three times.

Protests had taken on an international dimension since Monday's decision to deny clemency by the Georgia pardons board.

The Council of Europe had also called for Davis' sentence to be commuted.

Amnesty International and other groups organised protests at the US embassy in Paris, where 150 people gathered in Place de la Concorde, holding signs bearing Davis' image.

"We strongly deplore that the numerous appeals for clemency were not heeded," the French foreign ministry said after the execution.

In Washington DC dozens gathered outside the White House, in the hope that President Barack Obama might intervene at the last-minute.

But White House press secretary Jay Carney said it would not be appropriate for the president to interfere in specific cases of state prosecution, such as this one.

Reports suggested around a dozen people were arrested for refusing to co-operate with police.

Meanwhile in the US state of Texas another death row inmate, Lawrence Russell Brewer, was executed on Wednesday evening - in a very different case.

In 1998, white supremacist gang member Brewer, 44, dragged a black man chained to the back of a pick-up truck along a road until he died.


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  • Comment number 454.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 453.

    Dear Georgia - If you are reading this then putting your electronic fingers in your ears and singing lalalalala loudly wont stop the world-wide condemnation and disgust at your decision to execute Troy Davis when his guilt was clearly NOT beyond reasonable doubt..

  • rate this

    Comment number 452.

    I'm appalled by this killing. I actually think the way it's worded in this blog post is perfect: (Not sure if I'm allowed to post links to blogs but it's relevant)

  • rate this

    Comment number 451.

    As the 1972 song put it (about another mis-carriage of justice), "That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia".

  • rate this

    Comment number 450.

    Wouldn't live in America.
    Wouldn't go on Holiday there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 449.

    The police did not find a gun nor did they find DNA evidence linking Troy Davis to this murder. Couple that with shaky witness testimony and you cannot say that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    The biggest problem here is that an innocent man may have just been murdered by the state and that the real murderer may still be on the streets.

    I feel sorry for both families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 448.

    Whilst not presuming to judge the guilt of this man Davis, that is for God to handle with infinite justice, I am very much in favour of the restoration of the death penalty for 1st degree convicted murderers - especially anyone who kills a serving Police officer or a fireman or a child.
    We have gone SOFT on serious crime in this country and look at the results of weekly stabbings and shootings!

  • rate this

    Comment number 447.

    368. FrankVine

    ... because they're "numpty ignoramouses".

    At least the ones who think it makes sense to have a sentence that you can never back out of.

    If/when Troy is found innocent maybe those who sentenced and carried out the death penalty should be found guilty of murder and asked their views on capital punishment now.

  • rate this

    Comment number 446.

    "The executioners should be unvailed and made to stand trial.. for their complicity was akin to that of Nazi soldiers in WWII concentration camps."
    What a stupid comment. Ignoring the grossly offensive holocaust comparision then by the same logic if he hadn't been executed his jailers should be charged with kidnap & wrongful imprisonment?

  • rate this

    Comment number 445.

    "In 1998, white supremacist gang member Brewer, 44, dragged a black man chained to the back of a pick-up truck along a road until he died."

    Was Amnesty International protesting that execution, as well?

  • rate this

    Comment number 444.

    State sanctioned murder at its finest. Another reason to add the ever growing list of why I'm embarrassed to be half American.

    Shame on you Georgia. Shame on you America.

  • rate this

    Comment number 443.

    And I agree with Green Future, every one is worried about a man who might have been killed wrongly but still a man who were in the crime scene to beat a homeless man, but no one think about this poor family who lost their loved one!! Yes, maybe he shouldn't have been killed, but still he was there at the first place, he is not completely innocent either The policeman was!

  • rate this

    Comment number 442.

    They send a man to jail for a minimum of 20 years in Norway for killing over 70 people and it is a known fact that he is guilty. It has taken over 20 years to execute this man and even now there is still a doubt as to whether he is guilty. There is a fundemental problem with human reasoning somewhere alonng the line, not to mention the neglect for the police officer who was murdered 20 years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 441.

    The debate rages on! I would like to suggest you read a book i found both disturbing and compelling (The Culture of Death Row) The Last Face You'll Ever See By Ivan Solotaroff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 440.

    I've no idea if Troy Davis is guilty or not. Only Troy Davis did. After 22 years I'm not surprised that witnesses can't remember what really happened so that isn't as significant as some think.

    What I find barbaric is that he spent 22 years on death row. In most other countries 22 years is more than you'd get for murder. It seems that he received both a life sentence AND a death sentence.

  • rate this

    Comment number 439.

    161 167 152
    dont talk about evidence.
    have any of you armchair judges seen any.the appeal judges have but still upheld the conviction.perhaps you should all become judges then you can talk with some degree of truth.
    as for 152 not happy with some comments others have made tough,best you dont visit these sites as you only want you opinions on them.its a free world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 438.

    Although I agree that in this situation, the case should have been reopened to find the all truth!! However, people tend to forget that Davies is not that innocent either because he was on the crime scene and if he didn't kill the policeman that was there to save a homeless man, he might have killed the homeless man instead!! They were beating that man! With or without a gun!

  • rate this

    Comment number 437.

    43 Minutes ago
    The US is backward when it comes to human rights, I am afraid. They harp on about Christianity and 'one nation under God' whilst enforcing anti-Christian laws.

    Erm, not even the Pope condemns the death penalty but asks for clemency in certain instances, why is that do you think!!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 436.

    It is chilling how many here support the death penalty. Guilty or not (and there appear to be serious doubts), it is barbaric and has no place in a civilised society, whatever the crime. And no, I would not support it even if the victim were my own family. The US has no right to hold itself out as a moral arbiter. Shame on Obama for not intervening - I hoped he was made of better stuff.

  • rate this

    Comment number 435.

    It seems bizarre to me that most of the states supporting the death penalty also claim to be so Christian and follow the ten commandments as well, it says Thou shalt not kill, I don't remember reading "please see footnote 5a: except where it suits you to translate the Bible as it suits your selfish or revengeful ends".


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