Troy Davis executed after long legal battle

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BUTTS COUNTY, Ga.,None - After hours of waiting, shortly before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the ruling saying Troy Davis was to be executed as planned.

Davis’ attorneys filed a last minute appeal to the high court in hopes they would re-consider Davis’ case.

Hundreds of protesters stood outside the prison gates to show their support for Davis. Shortly after 7 p.m. a roar came from the crowd after they learned the execution was on hold.

After more than 3 hours of waiting, the Supreme Court handed down their decision to continue with the execution.

Protesters outside the jail described the evening as a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Larry Cox with Amnesty International said, “What strikes me, who’s not a lawyer, is the cruelty of this whole process.”

This was the fourth time the state of Georgia has tried to execute the convicted cop killer.  Each time it’s been put on hold. 

Davis, 42, was convicted of killing Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. His case has attracted international attention because of what some see as reasonable doubt. 

Hundreds lined the street across from the prison. SWAT teams stood on guard throughout the night.  

Channel 2’s Tony Thomas said there were a handful of arrests.

Earlier in the day, the Rev. Al Sharpton led the protesters past the security checkpoint of the Georgia Diagnostic Prison.

He told Channel 2's Richard Elliot that he believed Davis was innocent of the murder of MacPhail.

"We don't know if we'll get a miracle today, but we know whatever they do, it will not be in silence," said Sharpton.

Since the conviction, some of the witnesses have recanted their story and at least one juror came forward stating they made a wrong decision to convict.

That conviction and subsequent death sentence has drawn protests from around the county and around the world. The Vatican, the French Foreign Ministry and former President Jimmy Carter have asked the state to set aside the death sentence.

On Monday, however, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denied clemency. The Georgia Supreme Court also refused a stay of execution for Davis. Wednesday, the parole board declined requests to reconsider that decision.

On Wednesday, Davis' attorney, Stephen Marsh, tried to get a polygraph device into the prison to test Davis, but prison officials denied that request.

Just before he was put to death, an execution witness recounted what Davis said.

"(He said) 'To those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls.  May God bless your souls,'" said witness Rhonda Cook.

Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. Wednesday.