Prison Records Detail Troy Davis’s Final Hours

Prison Records Detail Troy Davis’s Final Hours

Moments before death, he proclaimed his innocence and urged supporters to fight on.

Published October 7, 2011

In his last moments before the state of Georgia executed him by lethal injection on Sept. 21, Troy Davis maintained his innocence and urged his supporters to “continue to fight this fight,” according to materials recently gathered by the Associated Press.

Davis’s proclamations were obtained through an open records request and were supplemented by prison officials with an audio recording and transcript.

According to the files, his death watch began at 7 a.m. on Sept. 20. Davis spent the day meeting with visitors, watching TV and talking to his attorneys. Around 9:20 p.m. a nurse brought him a fish oil pill and other unspecified medications. He was asleep within a half an hour.

The following day, the day scheduled for his execution, Davis awoke and stayed in bed until about 7:50 a.m. He was strip-searched and escorted to the shower and met with the warden a few minutes after he finished shaving. He then began to meet with the first of 28 visitors that came to see him.

After a long day of emotional goodbyes, Davis vowed to fast and refused several prison meals, but as the night grew longer he asked for food and as his 7 p.m. scheduled execution time came and went, guards caught David doing something less expected: sleeping.

Davis awoke an hour later and called his attorney for an update. On and off for the next few hours he chatted with his attorney, awaiting the news of his fate. On three prior occasions, he had been granted a stay of execution.

Although there was hope till the end that Davis could be granted an appeal, in the days and weeks prior to his last day, he quietly began making arrangements in case his pleas were unsuccessful.  

Davis asked prison officials to allow four of his supporters to witness his lethal injection — attorneys Thomas Ruffin and Jason Ewart, Minister Stephen Browning and his friend Gemma Puglisi, an American University professor who was an advocate on his behalf. He sent prison officials a list of 28 names that had visited him in his final days. When he accidently misspelled a name, he scribbled a note to an administrator with a correction, editing it with “God Bless You,” and he sent an undisclosed amount of money to a relative, describing it only as a “family gift.”

At 10:28 p.m., guards entered Davis’ room and a few minutes later he was strapped to his death-bed gurney when, soon after, execution witnesses started to fill in.

At 11:08 p.m., authorities pronounced him dead and the death chamber was cleared.

To hear the audio of Davis’ last words, visit here.


To contact or share story ideas with Danielle Wright, follow and tweet her at @DaniWrightTV.


(Photo: REUTERS/John Amis)

Written by Danielle Wright


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