- (Reuters/Georgia Department of Corrections)
The State of Georgia went ahead and executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night despite a last ditch attempt by his defense team before the U.S. Supreme court.
As he faced the execution Davis remained resolute to the last, maintaining that he was innocent. As he was given a lethal injection he reportedly lifted his head and said he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail.
As he lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, Davis wanted to tell the MacPhail family once again that he was innocent.
"I want to talk to the MacPhail family," he said, according to The Guardian. "I was not responsible for what happened that night. I did not have a gun. I was not the one who took the life of your father, son, brother.”
More than 500 demonstrators were crying, praying and holding candles outside the prison while thousands of supporters around the world were left mourning and maintaining their conviction that Davis was innocent.
Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles twice denied Davis clemency and rejected his request to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence. Lawyers did not give up and deliberations dragged into a fourth hour, to the clear bemusement of legal experts.
Twenty years since his original death sentence was imposed, Davis’ death was scheduled to be at 7.p.m. EST. However, even though two decades had passed for the case to be resolved, a final hour plea to the U.S. Supreme Court apparently delayed the execution by more than three hours, as the world looked on in bemusement. More than three hours later, the high court announced it wouldn’t intervene.
When the rejection finally came all Davis supports at Jackson prison and outside the Supreme Court in Washington got stunned and emotionally exhausted.
He urged his family and friends to “keep the faith” and said to the medical personnel who were about to kill him “For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls."
Although many were hoping he could be saved at the last moment, Davis was administered with a triple lethal injection of pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.
Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay.
A few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail’s son and brother watched in silence. Prosecutors and MacPhail’s family said justice had finally been served.
"I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened," MacPhail's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said in a telephone interview from her home in Columbus, Ga, according to Knownews. "All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace."
The lawyers lamented his death. Jason Ewart, a second lawyer for Davis, said that he took with him his quest for justice.
“In the midst of all the newspaper headlines and vigils you can sometimes lose sight of the man who was on death row. Troy Davis was a family man, and his family mourns tonight."
His sister, Martina Correia, had earlier said her brother’s story would be a galvanizing force for others, vowing to continue the fight to end all capital punishment in America.
"His message to young people is – you can lie down or you can stand up and fight," she said.
The debate about Davis execution will continue long after the gurney has been put away. After the decision to continue with the death sentence despite serious doubts over Davis’s guilt, many accusations are being drawn that this was the system at its most grotesque.