The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency for death row inmate Troy Davis Tuesday after a hearing the previous day where the State presented evidence and testimony to bolster their argument in favor of Davis’ death, and Davis’ defense team fought to save him from Wednesday’s looming execution.
The decision was condemned by the NAACP, Amnesty International and other Davis supporters.
“In moments of immense sadness, moments that shake the foundation of our faith in the justice system and in mankind, there are often no words that can adequately express one’s grief and outrage,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Despite overwhelming evidence pointing to his innocence, the execution will proceed and Troy Davis will live his last day on Sept. 21.”
Scores of protesters gathered in Georgia to support Davis’ bid for clemency and since Davis' conviction, supporters of his cause have included high profile advocates such as President Jimmy Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Following the outcome of the hearing, Davis, 42, is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m EST. The board’s decision was the final stop for Davis in his attempt to prevent his execution after 20 years of maintaining his innocence. Since his 1991 murder conviction, the case has been through a litany of appeals, with even the U.S. Supreme Court taking historic action to review Davis' claims of injustice.
In 1991, Davis was convicted of murder in the shooting death of a Georgia police officer, Mark MacPhail. His conviction rested solely upon eyewitness testimony and all but two of the original non-police witness have recanted or contradicted their testimony implicating Davis as the shooter. Additionally, no murder weapon was ever found nor is there any DNA evidence or fingerprints linking Davis to the crime.
On the night of the murder, MacPhail, 27, was working off-duty as a security guard outside of a Savannah bus station, when he was shot and killed while rushing to the aid of a homeless man who was being attacked. MacPhail was a husband and father of two young children at the time of his death.
"Justice was finally served for my father," Mark MacPhail Jr., who was an infant when his father was killed, told the Associated Press. "The truth was finally heard."
Both families are reeling from the board’s decision; the Davis’ in disbelief of its finality and the MacPhail’s seemingly content with closure.
"I think I finally will have peace of mind," said MacPhail’s mother Anneliese according to the Associated Press. "When it is over I can close that book and I know Mark can rest in peace, too."
Amnesty International and the NAACP will hold a press conference on the case today at 11 a.m.
(Photo: REUTERS/John Amis)