Incredible: Hours Before His Execution, Troy Davis Wins a Temporary Reprieve

Human Rights

For the second time in two years, Troy Anthony Davis came within hours of the execution chamber before winning a last-minute stay. Davis had already said his goodbyes to his family members (who had also been told they'd be barred from witnessing his execution) and been offered a last meal (which he refused) when word came, this time from the U.S. Supreme Court that he would live to see another day. "We are grateful that the U.S. Supreme Court has shown the foresight to stay the execution," said Larry Cox of Amnesty International, which has been fighting alongside Martina, his sister, as well as other family, friends and activist groups to save Davis's life. "We hope that it takes up the case and looks at it with fresh eyes, marking the first time that evidence pointing to Davis' innocence will have been heard in a court of law."

Among the cruel injustices in the case up until this point was the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court was actually scheduled to consider Davis's appeal on Monday, the 29th. Yet the state of Georgia still saw it fit to go through with the execution today. "For reasons that are unfathomable, Chatham County officials seemed doggedly determined to ram this execution through before justice could fully run its course," said Cox. The stay will be in effect while the court considers the appeal.

The Associated Press reports:


Davis wants the high court to order a judge to hear from the witnesses who recanted their testimony and others who say another man confessed to the crime.
Influential advocates, including former President Jimmy Carter and South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu, insist that there's enough doubt about his guilt to merit a new trial.
A divided Georgia Supreme Court has twice rejected his request for a new trial, and had rejected his appeal to delay the execution Monday afternoon. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles also turned down his bid for clemency.
Troy Davis still faces a major obstacle if he hopes to live. As ABC News reports, "The court usually declines to hear such cases. If the court does not agree to hear the appeal, Davis will still be executed."

To read an interview with Troy Davis's sister, Martina, as well as Georgia Representative John Lewis, go here.

To learn more about what you can do, go here.

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