In 1991, Troy Davis was convicted of murdering an off duty police officer in a parking lot in the city of Savannah, Georgia. His conviction was based on nothing more than nine “eyewitnesses.” Since then, seven of those eyewitnesses have came forward and recanted their testimonies, with some even saying that they were coerced into lying. Nevertheless, he was convicted and after three previous stays of execution, the state of Georgia was determined to make sure Troy Davis would die tonight.
Millions of people had come out in protest, including a former United States President, The Pope and five Wardens, as well as a former warden at the very prison where Troy Davis was incarcerated. That former warden, Dr. Allen Ault, wrote a letter to the Governor and Corrections Officials of Georgia, asking for Troy’s execution to be stopped. Part of the letter said;
We write to you today with the overwhelming concern that an innocent person could be executed in Georgia tonight. We know the legal process has exhausted itself in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, and yet, doubt about his guilt remains. This very fact will have an irreversible and damaging impact on your staff. Many people of significant standing share these concerns, including, notably, William Sessions, Director of the FBI under President Ronald Reagan.
Living with the nightmares is something that we know from experience. No one has the right to ask a public servant to take on a lifelong sentence of nagging doubt, and for some of us, shame and guilt. Should our justice system be causing so much harm to so many people when there is an alternative?
We urge you to ask the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to reconsider their decision. Should that fail, we urge you to unburden yourselves and your staff from the pain of participating in such a questionable execution to the extent possible by allowing any personnel so inclined to opt-out of activities related to the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. Further, we urge you to provide appropriate counseling to personnel who do choose to perform their job functions related to the execution. If we may be of assistance to you moving forward, please do not hesitate to call upon any of us.
Scheduled to be killed today at 7PM, Troy’s lawyers filed a last minute request with the United States Supreme Court for a stay of execution, but that effort ended three hours later with the Court returning its decision saying, “application for a stay of execution denied.”
So tonight, Troy Davis was strapped to a gurney and asked if he had any last words, to which he maintained his innocence. He said he was not responsible for the officer’s death, and that he “didn’t have a gun.” He was then injected with enough poison to kill him.
Convicted on nothing more than nine testimonies that were later determined to be false or coerced – tonight – Troy lost his fight to live. The announcement was made that Troy took his last breath and was pronounced dead at 11:08PM.