execution goes ahead after US Supreme Court refuses stay Davis
Execution of death row inmate had been delayed temporarily as country's top judges considered case
• Ed Pilkington tweets from outside the prison in
• Ten reasons why Troy
should not be executed Davis
Ed Pilkington in Jackson, Georgia and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 September 2011 03.24 BST
. The Davis Supreme Court has refused to stop his execution. Photograph: AP US
The US Supreme Court has rejected a last-ditch request to halt the execution of Troy Davis, the
death row inmate convicted of murdering a police officer. Georgia
The nation's highest court refused to stay the execution of Davis, who had been scheduled to die by lethal injection at 7pm EDT (11pm GMT) at a prison in
. Jackson, Georgia
It took the court more than four hours to issue its one-sentence order, an unusually long time in such cases. The delay gave rise to hopes that the judges would agree to a stay.
Brian Kammer, a lawyer for
, said in seeking a stay from the supreme court that newly available evidence revealed false, misleading and inaccurate information was presented at the trial, "rendering the convictions and death sentence fundamentally unreliable." Davis
As the first news of a delay came in at the
prison that houses death row, a huge cheer erupted from a crowd of more than 500 protesters that had amassed on the other side of the road. Jackson
But the jubilation was short-lived. Talk of a reprieve from the
supreme court quickly gave way to rumours of a stay, and finally the realisation that the court had only ordered a temporary delay as it considered the matter. The mood then grew more sombre as the waiting game that has now been going on for years with US resumed. Davis
Earlier on Wednesday,
Georgia's supreme court had rejected a last-ditch appeal by Davis's lawyers over the 1989 murder of off-duty policeman Mark MacPhail, for which had been convicted despite overwhelming evidence that the conviction is unreliable. Davis
A Butts county superior court judge had also declined to stop the execution.
The White House declined to comment on the case, saying: "It is not appropriate for the president of the
to weigh in on specific cases." United States
At the maximum security prison in Jackson where the execution was scheduled to take place, busloads of Troy Davis supporters from his home town of Savannah came in to register their anger and despair at what they all agree is the planned judicial killing of an innocent man.
Edward DuBose, a leader of the
branch of the NAACP, said it was not an execution, but a "murder". Georgia
The protest heard from Martina Correia,
's eldest sister, who delivered a statement from about 20 family members gathered around her. She was heavily critical of what she described as the defiance of the state of Davis and its inability to admit that it had made a mistake. Georgia
She pointed out that the state's parole board had vowed in 2007 that no execution would take place if there was any doubt. "Every year there is more and more doubt yet still the state pushes for an execution," she said.
Correia, who has cancer, struggled to her feet in honour of her brother, just a few hours from his probable death. But she exhorted people not to give up.
"if you can get millions of people to stand up against this you can end the death penalty. We shouldn't have to live in a state that executes people when there's doubt."
DuBose gave an account of a 30-minute conversation he had with
on death row on Tuesday night. " Davis wanted me to let you know – keep the faith. The fight is bigger than him." Troy
DuBose said that whether the execution went ahead or not, the fight would continue. He said
wants his case to set an example "that the death penalty in this country needs to end. They call it execution; we call it murder." Davis
Hundreds of people gathered outside the prison, many wearing T-shirts that said: "I am Troy Davis". The activist Al Sharpton said: "What is facing execution tonight is not just the body of Troy Davis, but the spirit of due justice in the state of
Larry Cox, the executive director of Amnesty in the
US, which has led the international campaign for clemency, said demonstrations were happening outside US embassies in France, Mali, Hong Kong, Peru, Germany and the . UK
"We will not stop fighting until we live in a world where no state thinks it can kill innocent people."
After winning three delays since 2007,
Davis lost an appeal for clemency this week when the pardons board denied his request, despite serious doubts about his guilt. Georgia
Some witnesses who testified against
at trial later recanted, and others who did not testify came forward to say another man did it. But a federal judge dismissed those accounts as "largely smoke and mirrors" after a hearing Davis was granted last year to argue for a new trial, which he did not win. Davis
Parliamentarians and government ministers from the Council of Europe, the EU's human rights watchdog, had earlier called for
's sentence to be commuted. Davis
Renate Wohlwend of the council's parliamentary assembly said: "To carry out this irrevocable act now would be a terrible mistake, which could lead to a tragic injustice".
supreme court gave him an unusual opportunity to prove his innocence last year, but his attorneys failed to convince a judge he did not do it. US
State and federal courts have repeatedly upheld his conviction.
Prosecutors say they have no doubt they charged the right person, and MacPhail's family lobbied the pardons board Monday to reject
's clemency appeal. The board refused to stop the execution a day later. Davis
"He has had ample time to prove his innocence," said MacPhail's widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris. "And he is not innocent."
Spencer Lawton, the district attorney who secured
's conviction in 1991, said he was embarrassed for the judicial system that the execution has taken so long. Davis
"What we have had is a manufactured appearance of doubt which has taken on the quality of legitimate doubt itself. And all of it is exquisitely unfair," said
Lawton, who retired as 's head prosecutor in 2008. Chatham County
"The good news is we live in a civilized society where questions like this are decided based on fact in open and transparent courts of law, and not on street corners."
They also asked
Savannah prosecutors to block the execution, although Chatham County district attorney Larry Chisolm said in a statement he was powerless to withdraw an execution order for issued by a state superior court judge. Davis
"We appreciate the outpouring of interest in this case; however, this matter is beyond our control," Chisolm said. (The Guardian)