Despite a last-minute review by the U.S. Supreme Court, Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis was put to death last night by lethal injection amidst cries of injustice from nearly one million supporters. Davis' death has supposedly brought closure to the victim's family, but it has also raised questions about what place capital punishment has in the United States.
Davis maintained his innocence up to the end, using his final words to ask the family of slain police officer Mark MacPhail to look into the case deeper to find the truth, the Associated Press reports. Around 500 protesters stood outside and kept vigil while Davis drew his final breath at 11:08 p.m.
The execution was scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday night, but just minutes before he was to be lead the gurney, the Supreme Court delayed the execution so that they could review the case. However, the justices denied the request for appeal, sealing Davis' fate.
Davis had captured the attention of the world due to the persistent, lingering doubts surrounding his case. Of the nine witnesses who testified that they had seen him shoot McPhail in 1989, seven eventually recanted their testimony. With such questions raised about the validity of the prosecution, many felt there was too much uncertainty to end a man's life.
"Such incredibly flawed eyewitness testimony should never be the basis for an execution," Davis' attorney Stephen Marsh told reporters, according to the AP. "To execute someone under these circumstances would be unconscionable."
The courts apparently saw it differently, however. In the year leading up to Wednesday's execution, Davis was given the opportunity to exonerate himself, but the judges said he did not "clearly establish" his innocence.