Troy Davis graduation photograph. The African American man was executed on September 21, 2011. He and millions had proclaimed his innocence., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
AP reporter describes witnessing Davis execution
By GREG BLUESTEIN
The Associated Press
2:36 a.m. Thursday, September 22, 2011
JACKSON, Ga. — It didn't take long to notice Troy Davis' execution was different from the others I've covered. As I drove up to the prison, I could see the crowds of protesters and a group of at least 50 reporters.
I've covered about 10 executions in Georgia. None of them are easy. This was by far the most unusual.
There were four reporters besides me there to witness the execution. We ended up waiting for more than four hours in a somber prison break room. We made small talk and speculated about whether the U.S. Supreme Court could intervene. At times, it was silent.
Around 10:30 p.m., a guard walked in and said: "You ready?"
We were led into a white van and, after passing through several security checkpoints, we were delivered to the squat white building on the edge of the prison that serves as the death chamber. We watched the slain officer's son, Mark MacPhail Jr., enter the building. Behind him, Jason Ewart, the condemned man's attorney, walked in. A county coroner's van rolled up.
By the time we were inside, officials had already strapped Davis to the gurney. There was a glass window with a curtain separating Davis from the witnesses, who sat in three rows of seats. There were about 20 of us.
Davis searched for Ewart, who nodded slightly when they locked eyes. MacPhail Jr., sitting in the front row, focused on Davis.
When it was time to deliver his last words, Davis' seized the moment, speaking quickly and confidently.
He told the MacPhail family he was not responsible for the death. "I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault," he said.
Davis urged his supporters to "continue to fight the fight." And just before the lethal drugs coursed through his veins, he offered a message to his executioners: "God have mercy on your souls."
Davis blinked his eyes rapidly. He squeezed them tight. The curtain closed.
September 22, 2011 02:36 AM EDT
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Find this article at:
Troy Davis executed after 11th-hour appeal fails
Greg Bluestein, Associated Press
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Jackson, --Ga. - Georgia executed Troy Davis on Wednesday night for the murder of an off-duty police officer, a crime he denied committing right to the end as supporters around the world mourned and declared that an innocent man was put to death.
As he lay strapped to a gurney in the death chamber, the 42-year-old told relatives of Mark MacPhail that he was not responsible for his 1989 slaying. "I did not have a gun," he insisted.
"All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth," he said.
He asked his friends and family to "continue to fight this fight." Of prison officials, he said, "may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."
Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. The lethal injection began about 15 minutes earlier, after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay.
The high court did not comment on its order, which came about four hours after it received the request and more than three hours after the planned execution time.
Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions on Davis' behalf, and prominent supporters included former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, former FBI Director William Sessions, the NAACP, several conservative figures and many celebrities, including hip-hop star Sean "P. Diddy" Combs.
His attorneys said seven of nine key witnesses against him disputed all or parts of their testimony, but state and federal judges repeatedly ruled against him - three times on Wednesday alone.
MacPhail's widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said there was "nothing to rejoice," but that it was "a time for healing for all families."
Davis' supporters staged vigils in the United States and Europe, declaring "I am Troy Davis" on signs, T-shirts and the Internet. Some tried increasingly frenzied measures, urging prison workers to stay home and even posting a judge's phone number online, hoping people would press him to put a stop to the lethal injection. President Obama deflected calls for him to get involved.
"They say death row; we say hell no!" protesters shouted outside the Jackson prison where Davis was executed. In Washington, a crowd outside the Supreme Court yelled the same chant.
As many as 700 demonstrators gathered outside the prison as a few dozen riot police stood watch, but the crowd thinned as the night wore on and the outcome became clear. About 10 counterdemonstrators also were there, showing support for the death penalty and the MacPhail family.
Davis' execution had been stopped three times since 2007, but Wednesday he ran out of legal options.