WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Troy Davis, sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer in 1989 and he was executed by injection Wednesday night in a prison in Jackson, Georgia, shortly after the release of a final appeal by the Supreme Court United States.
The Supreme Court refused at the last minute to cancel the execution of the condemned, originally scheduled to take place at 19:00 local time at the Jackson prison on Wednesday . It took Supreme Court more than four hours to make his opinion, unusually long time for such cases and the convicted person has been executed at 23:08 local time.
Davis, on his way to the execution chamber, has a last maintained his innocence, according to journalists who attended his last moments.
“I am not responsible for what happened that night (in 1989). I had no gun,” he said, according to Rhonda Cook, of the daily Journal-Constitution, which seems to Atlanta.
“I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother.I am innocent.” he told members of the family of murdered police officer who attended the execution.
Sentenced to death for the murder of Officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 in Savannah, Georgia, Troy Davis became a symbol of the struggle against capital punishment.
Seven of the nine prosecution witnesses have since recanted his trial and abolitionists believe that American justice has executed a man whose guilt was not certain.
On Wednesday near the prison in Jackson, several hundred protesters gathered in the hope that the sentence would not be executed. They chanted “Please do not let die Troy Davis” and “I am Troy Davis”. The protests, which began earlier this afternoon, took place against a backdrop of heavy police presence and at least two people were arrested.
“It’s a tragedy. We expected a different result but we are determined to fight,” said Raphael Warnock, pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
“People attending the execution then in a way that is unprecedented, and I think it leads them to take a hard look at our penal system,” he added.
Many personalities, including Nobel Peace Desmond Tutu and the nun Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking” (Dead Man Walking), campaigned for years against the execution of Troy Davis. France and the Council of Europe had added their voices to these militants this week.
“You know, France has intervened to seek pardon of the convicted. I think today, in major developed countries, the great civilized countries, justice has other means to act as the death penalty” , said Valerie Pécresse, spokesman for the government.
Former Justice Minister Robert Badinter, the architect of the abolition of capital punishment in France in 1981, considered one of Europe that the case Davis would remain “a stain on the justice of the United States and in any case that of the State of Georgia. ”
“We must be fair to the United States: the abolitionist movement in the United States continues to score points even if that night is a very great slaughter”, he added.
The case of Troy Davis had given rise to numerous appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States had requested a separate trial to review new evidence and testimony put forward by the defense in August 2009 . Justice of Georgia confirmed the guilt of the accused a year later.