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Pardons Board Says Troy Davis Execution to Proceed
September 21, 2011
The Georgia Pardons and Parole board said earlier today that it will not reconsider its decision, and that Troy Davis will be executed at 7pm EDT this evening.
A last-minute request by Davis to take a lie detector test today in an attempt to prove his innocence was also rejected by the board.
Davis has refused a special last meal, choosing instead to have the same cheeseburger, potatoes, baked beans, slaw, cookies and a grape drink the other 2,100 inmates at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison will have for dinner. He is spending time today with his family, members of his legal team, and members of Amnesty International.
Hundreds of thousands of people around the world have petitioned for clemency for Troy Davis, with support from a wide-ranging swath, including Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter, Outkast's Big Boi, Mia Farrow, Diddy, and Roots drummer Questlove.
A spokesperson for Amnesty International said "In this type of situation, there's always the potential for it to go awry, with certain groups, angry rhetoric. But Troy Davis would want people to keep fighting peacefully, for him and for, as he would put it, all of the other Troy Davis's out there."
This is the fourth time Troy Davis has been scheduled to die. In the hours before his third execution date, Davis was granted a stay, and was allowed to take his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that a federal court in Savannah should examine new testimony in the case. However, the federal court said Davis' team failed to prove his innocence.
Georgia Pardons Board Denies Troy Davis Clemency
September 20, 2011
Almost a million people signed petitions demanding clemency for Troy Davis, but the statement from the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole today was brief: "The board denied clemency." And with that, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed at 7pm EDT Wednesday. It's the fourth time in four years Georgia officials have appointed a time for Davis to die.
Davis was convicted of killing a police officer in 1989, but since the original trial, seven of nine non-police witnesses recanted their testimony, and no physical evidence linked him to the crime.
One of the jurors from the original trial, Brenda Forrest, swore an affidavit on September 12 stating that new evidence and altered testimonies changed her opinion on Davis' guilty verdict: "I feel, emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances...to execute Mr. Davis in light of this evidence and testimony would be an injustice to the victim's family [and] to the jury who sentenced Mr. Davis."
Amnesty International issued a statement earlier today: "It is unconscionable that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis. Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice."
That cloud of doubt doesn't extend to everybody; the mother of the police officer who was killed in 1989, Anne MacPhail, told CNN: "Well, justice is done, that's the way we look at it. That's what we wanted," she said. "I am very convinced that he is guilty."
Planned US Execution Sparks Many Protests
September 16, 2011
With 300 rallies, vigils, and other events worldwide, the movement to keep Troy Davis alive has sparked large-scale protests. Thousands of people around the world, marshalled by the NAACP, Amnesty International and Change.org, have joined celebrities like John Legend, Mia Farrow, and Bianca Jagger, as well as notables like Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pope Benedict XVI in an attempt to convince Georgia authorities to grant clemency to Troy Davis.
Davis, who is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection next Wednesday, was convicted of murdering a Georgia police officer in 1991. This is the fourth time his execution has been set in two years. Amnesty says the case against Davis has collapsed over the past 20 years; seven of the witnesses from the original trial have recanted or revised their damning testimonies, and of the two remaining witnesses who have let their testimony stand, Davis' supporters believe one of them may be the actual murderer.
In the face of this very visible display of public opinion, earlier this week Texas Governor Rick Perry - who has signed off on 234 executions, more than any governor in modern American history - was asked by Brian Williams during the GOP candidate's debate if he ever lost sleep over the idea that a prisoner on death row might be innocent, to which he replied: "No sir, I've never struggled with that at all."
The crowd cheered him.
To learn more about Amnesty International's position on the Davis case, check out this series of videos they've produced. If they move you, there's a petition to stop the execution here.