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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  • rate this

    Comment number 614.

    The death sentence is completely final and all evidence against the defendant must be completely and wholly in tact and must PROVE beyond reasonable doubt that the crime was committed. If this man is later found not to be guilty then there is something very wrong. If he is guilty then the it is my opinion that the death sentence was fair and just.

  • rate this

    Comment number 613.

    If there is doubt of 0.0001% there should be no execution.

  • rate this

    Comment number 612.

    And the USA has the front to preach to the rest of the world on Human Rights!

    The word "hypocrit" springs to mind.

    R.I.P. Mr davis

    RIP Mark McPhail the REAL FORGOTTEN VICTIM & his wife & family & children.

    "Davis' advocates," Lawton wrote, "are eager to condemn Coles based on evidence far weaker than their characterization of the evidence against Davis."

  • rate this

    Comment number 611.

    Why is anyone on here surprised by the outcome? This is America. The death penalty exists there. America doesn't have an equivalent of the EHRA and couldn't gave a fig if others don't like their legal system. This is a country that sends fraudsters to jail for 150 years where in Britain they'd be unlucky to get 15 months. So death for murder. Its their way - whether you like it or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 610.

    Another knot in your own noose Uncle Sam.

  • Comment number 609.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 608.


    no ballistic evidence

    Crime lab tests proved that the shell casings recovered from the shooting of Michael Cooper at a party earlier in the evening were fired from the same weapon as the casings recovered from the scene of Officer Mark MacPhail's murder. Davis was convicted of shooting Cooper."

  • rate this

    Comment number 607.

    Doesn't is look likes revenge. If someone has done wrong you also do it. Death penalty should be in given in rarest cases only..

  • rate this

    Comment number 606.

    If you google/whatever search -

    Georgia Attorney General Baker Announces Execution Date For Troy Anthony Davis

    you can read the prosecution transcript, then you can comment beyond a basis of ignorance, also search -

    Lawton: Troy Davis verdict correct

    Lawton is the district attorney for Chatham County in Georgia

    BBC will not publish prosecution transcripts, so search them yourself

  • rate this

    Comment number 605.

    Points taken about the sovereignty of Singapore and the rataan cane for which I will wear the dunces cap for confusing it with Hong Kong.
    However,we are debating the death penalty and I was using the fact that Singapore still has the D/P and that everyone I know who has been there says that it is very much a law abiding place where British tourists feel absolutely safe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 604.

    I've always had great difficulty with 'legalised murder', but do believe that there has to be some serious deterrent to the ever increasing levels of violent crime in western society.

    I do however remain unsure whether the death penalty is appropriate unless guilt is proven beyond ANY doubt and I'm not sure that is the case here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 603.

    They could have saved themselves 20 years of expense had the sentence been carried out more expeditiously

  • rate this

    Comment number 602.

    No gun & no DNA???? I am glad I live here and not there!!!
    This was not justice it was revenge.

  • rate this

    Comment number 601.

    I'm not against the death penalty per se but if there is so much doubt about the man's guilt, the execution should not be allowed to happen

  • Comment number 600.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 599.

    I've never been an advocate for the death penalty.Justice systems are founded and run by humans,humans make mistakes.Kill someone then find they were innocent is a mistake that can't be rectified.Jail someone for life,yes they lose freedom for whatever many years but if evidence transpires that shows doubt or innocence then at least they can be released etc.Life sentences however should mean life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 598.

    Being on death row for all that time must be enough punishment for ANY crime.

  • Comment number 597.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 596.

    Can someone please explain why it is that the states which execute people are also the same states which are fundamentalist Christians when the bible, which is supposedly the basis of their whole concept of morality, expressly prohibits killing (as in 'thall shall not kill')? Hypocrisy or ignorance or both?

  • rate this

    Comment number 595.

    hmmm again the USA shows it self for what it really is..a disgusting hypocryte. Banging on about Human rights in other countries, when they should be looking at themselves!! This case was not proved beyond reasonable doubt! 9 out of 11 witnesses said they were forced by police to blame davies, they all recannted their statements yet a man was still put to save face?


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