Posted by: maboulette | September 22, 2011

TROY DAVIS EXECUTED

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JACKSON, Ga. — Troy Davis, convicted of murdering an off-duty Savannah police officer more than 20 years ago, held fast to his claims of innocence even as he was finally executed by lethal injection on Wednesday night.

Strapped to a gurney and minutes from death, Davis stated that he had not carried a gun the night of the murder and did not shoot the officer, Mark MacPhail, in a fast food restaurant parking lot on an August night in 1989.

Speaking directly to MacPhail’s brother and son, who witnessed the execution, Davis beseeched them to continue to examine the events that night. “All I can ask is that you look deep into this case so you can really find the truth,” he said.

Davis then addressed prison officials preparing to inject him with a lethal mix of chemicals. “May God have mercy on your souls,” he said.

The first injection began at 10:54 p.m. and Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. Afterward, Davis’ attorneys and legal advocates quickly decried the execution as a terrible miscarriage of justice.

“I had the unfortunate opportunity tonight to witness a tragedy, to witness Georgia execute an innocent man,” Jason Ewart, one of Davis’ attorneys, said outside the prison. “The innocent have no enemy but time, and Troy’s time slipped away tonight.”

Meanwhile, family members of the murdered officer expressed relief that the execution was over, according to the Associated Press.

News of the execution quieted hundreds of protesters who had lined the highway across from the entrance to the prison for hours, chanting and singing as they faced a small army of baton-wielding prison guards in full riot gear, sheriff’s deputies and state police. The crowd of protesters was quickly dispersed by police after Davis’ death was announced.

Local observers called the protests the largest at the state’s death row in many years. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Don Earnhart, manager of a Jackson, Ga., radio station, who said he has covered executions for several decades. Protests were also seen at the state capitol, Athens, in Washington, D.C. and at the U.S. embassy in London.

The execution was delayed for more than four hours by a last-minute petition to the U.S. Supreme Court by Davis’ legal team. The justices denied the petition without comment or dissent.

On Wednesday morning, Davis offered to submit to a lie detector test, but the request was denied by prison officials.

As the hours until the execution dwindled, calls for clemency continued from around the nation and the world, including from a group of former death row wardens, who wrote to Georgia authorities calling on them to halt the death sentence due to doubts about Davis’ guilt. Among the group was the former warden in charge of the Georgia death chamber.

“While most of the prisoners whose executions we participated in accepted responsibility for the crimes for which they were punished, some of us have also executed prisoners who maintained their innocence until the end,” the wardens wrote. “It is those cases that are most haunting to an executioner.”

Meanwhile, the family of the murdered policeman, Mark MacPhail, and the case’s original prosecutor have argued strenuously for Davis’ execution, and have asserted that there is no doubt that he is guilty of the murder.

 


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