The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles ruled Tuesday to allow Wednesday’s execution to go forward for Troy Davis, who was sentenced to death for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Georgia’s Department of Corrections had set his execution for 7 p.m. ET Wednesday.
The board, after hearing a last-ditch appeal on behalf of Davis Monday, delayed deciding his fate until Tuesday morning.
“The Board members have not taken their responsibility lightly and certainly understand the emotions attached to a death penalty case,” the panel said in a statement.
“This generation has been rebellious without a cause. Well, #Troydavis is now our cause, let’s rebel!” tweeted the Rev. Dr. Jamal-Harrison Bryant, senior pastor of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple A.M.E. Church.
“I was just notified that clemency was denied Troy Davis. This is the most blatant example of injustice I have seen in years. This is WRONG,” tweeted civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton Tuesday morning.
“The pending execution of Troy Davis is ungodly. What can we do to stop it?” Frank Reid III, senior pastor of Bethel A.M.E. Church in Baltimore, tweeted Monday morning.
“The denial of clemency to Troy Davis is not only crude/crass Georgia politics; it is an evil act,” Eddie S. Glaude, who teaches in Princeton’s religion department and Center for African American Studies, tweeted Tuesday morning.
“Thinking about Troy Davis. We cannot let him die. We cannot,” tweeted Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill Tuesday morning before the parole board’s rejection was announced.
The case of the Georgia death row inmate has captured world attention with numerous groups and prominent people including the NAACP, Amnesty International, Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter asking the parole board to grant Davis clemency.
“The new execution date marks the fourth time the state has set a date to put Davis to death by lethal injection,” wrote Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s leagl affairs reporter Bill Rankin earlier this month. From Rankin:
“On the three prior occasions, Davis’ execution was postponed to allow courts and the parole board to review his case. Most recently, the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in in 2009, issuing a stunning ruling that directed a federal judge to decide whether Davis’ new evidence clearly established his innocence. That judge, William T. Moore Jr., after hearing testimony and reviewing the case, found that while “the state’s case may not be ironclad, most reasonable jurors would again vote to convict Mr. Davis.”
Over the weekend, prayer vigils and rallies were held, calling for a stop to the execution.
By mid-afternoon Monday, supporters said they had collected almost 1 million petitions signatures in person and online seeking clemency. On Friday, more than 660,000 petitions were delivered to the state board, USA Today reported Monday. Those appealing for a second chance for the 42-year-old man include the Rev. Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In a letter to the parole board, King said she echoes “the cries of hundreds of thousands of others in asking your distinguished body to grant Troy Anthony Davis clemency and commute his sentence.
Supporters challenged his conviction, citing lack of physical evidence and witnesses who either backed off their testimony or recanted. Davis has always maintained his innocence.
The slain officer’s mother Anneliese MacPhail said there’s not any question the right person was charged, according to the Associated Press Monday.
“There’s no doubt,” she said. “Not after I went through that trial and saw what I saw.”
Supporters continued to email the parole board and Gov. Nathan Deal Tuesday and appeal to the Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisholm to vacate the death warrant.