-- Coretta Scott King
"When I’m finally released from this Death Camp, my path will remain Righteous as I help bring an END to the DEATH PENALTY."
Tonight, the daddy is very happy! Troy Davis, who was slated to electrocuted by lethal injection at 7 p.m. tonight, has received a reprieve. It was given by the Supreme Court less than two hours ago. The daddy is going to get him a drink and a slice of peach pie. Troy Davis: This one's for you.
Ga. cop killer gets last-minute execution reprieve
ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court gave a reprieve to a Georgia inmate less than two hours before he was to be executed Tuesday for the 1989 slaying of an off-duty police officer.
Supporters of 39-year-old Troy Davis have called for a new trial as seven of the nine witnesses who helped put him on death row recanted their testimony. Protesters had arrived by the busload to protest the execution, carrying signs with slogans like "Justice for Troy Davis" and wearing blue T-shirts emblazoned with "I am Troy Davis." A crowd of about 50 erupted in cheers when the stay, granted around 5:20 p.m., was announced.
The Rev. Al Sharpton had accompanied members of Davis' family to the protest, including Davis' mother, Virginia.
Prosecutors have labeled the witness statements "suspect," and courts had previously refused requests for a new trial.
The execution had been scheduled for 7 p.m. EDT.
The stay will remain in effect while the court considers Davis' appeal. 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.
Davis was convicted of the murder of 27-year-old officer Mark MacPhail, who was working off-duty as a security guard at a bus station.
MacPhail had rushed to help a homeless man who had been pistol-whipped at a nearby parking lot, and was shot twice when he approached Davis and two other men.
Witnesses identified Davis as the shooter, and at the 1991 trial, prosecutors said he wore a "smirk on his face" as he fired the gun.
But Davis' lawyers say new evidence proves their client was a victim of mistaken identity. Besides those who have recanted their testimony, three others who did not testify have said Sylvester "Red" Coles — who testified against Davis at his trial — confessed to the killing.
Coles refused to talk about the case when contacted by The Associated Press during a 2007 Chatham County court appearance and has no listed phone number.
Prosecutors have contended in court hearings the case is closed. They also say some of the witness affidavits simply repeat what a trial jury has already heard, while others are irrelevant because they come from witnesses who never testified.