Troy Davis, convicted cop-killer, was executed by way of lethal injection on Wednesday night at 11:08 p.m. EST in Butts County, Ga., despite a last-minute plea to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Earlier, Davis’ defense team had filed an eleventh-hour plea to the Georgia Supreme Court to halt the scheduled execution. That plea was denied.
That sparked a frantic rush by the defense team to take their plea to the U.S. Supreme Court with less than an hour to go before Davis was to be executed.
That plea held up the execution for hours as the 7 p.m. EST execution time came and went, and tension continued to build as lines of riot police were drafted in to attend to chanting crowds outside the execution venue.
As the hours passed, still no word came from the U.S. Supreme Court. It was not until about 10:20 p.m. EST that news emerged that the Supreme Court had denied the defense team's final plea. The Court also had previously rejected defense appeal arguments in 2010.
Davis has spent 22 years on death row for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, a Savannah, Ga., police officer who was shot dead when he attempted to help a homeless man who was being attacked.
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied Davis’ request for clemency, following last-minute testimony in a convened hearing Tuesday. It was a decision many called “unconscionable” and had prominent figures such as former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI speaking out against the death sentence.
Heidi Neumark, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church of Manhattan, told The Christian Post that a judicial decision to end a person’s life was not in accordance with Christian teaching.
“Christian teaching is not about judging people,” the New York City pastor told CP. “It’s about preserving life and leaving judgment in God’s hands.”
But Pastor David Wright, CEO of DOersTV, an online Christian TV network, believes the death penalty is in fact biblical, citing scripture Romans 13:1-5 which reads:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God…”
When asked whether or not capital punishment was biblical, Wright told CP, “Yes I believe it is, if it’s correct and not the wrong person.”
“However, that does not mean a person has not been forgiven by God just because they have a death sentence,” he added.
A U.S. envoy for Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter appealing to state officials to consider the circumstances that have weakened the credibility of Davis’ conviction, Savannah Morning News reported.
Monsignor Martin Krebs wrote, “I reiterate the commitment of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, to uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life, and I hope you will give heed to his petition.”