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Troy Davis dead; death penalty foes vow to fight on

Millions of petitions were delivered. Protests, rallies and vigils were organized around the globe. And still Troy Anthony Davis was executed. Millions of petitions were delivered.

Protests, rallies and vigils were organized around the globe.

Throughout the day Wednesday (Sept. 21) and on into the evening there was fasting and prayer in Tennessee and myriad other places.

 
 Troy
Davis

And still Troy Anthony Davis was executed. The state of Georgia killed him by lethal injection at 10:08 p.m. for the murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. Set to die at 6 p.m., Davis, 42, got a brief reprieve as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed his attorneys’ request for a stay of execution.

“Tonight the state of Georgia has killed an innocent man,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous said in a statement issued about an hour after Davis was declared dead.

Davis’s attorneys maintained to the end that seven of nine key witnesses against their client had disputed all or parts of their testimony. No DNA evidence linked him to the crime and numerous people, including many of high profile, said there was too much doubt to put him to death.

Earlier in a day marked by emotional valleys and one promising peak, Davis passed word that what he called “the struggle for justice” would not end with him.

“This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath. Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.”

Outside the Georgia prison, word of Davis’s execution drew tears. There were prayers and – most noticeably – pledges to continue the push against the death penalty.

Jealous was outside the prison. He implored those in the crowd to stay calm and show the same discipline modeled by Davis’s family.

“Troy’s execution, the exceptional unfairness of it, will only hasten the end of the death penalty in the United States,” said Jealous in his statement. “In death he will live on as a symbol of a broken justice system that kills an innocent man while a murderer walks free.”

Death penalty opponents who remained silent in the past should realize that their silence is no longer an option, said Jealous.

“The night they put Troy Davis to death will become an annual reminder that justice will not be achieved until we end this brutal practice of capital punishment.”

At the Tennessee NAACP state conference in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Vice President Warner Dickerson, who is president of the Memphis Branch NAACP, participated in a session focused on Davis’s struggle.

“We were in corporate prayer, not only praying for the young man (Davis), we were praying for others on death row in our prisons throughout the United States,” said Dickerson.

“The key to all of this is that in America we are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. There was no proof of guilt in this case. We feel like justice has not been done. That is the central theme.”

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