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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UPDATE — Supreme court denies stay, Troy Davis will be executed tonight

Troy Davis supporters at the Georgia state capitol react to the news that Davis' stay has been denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Troy Davis supporters at the Georgia state capitol react to the news that Davis' stay has been denied by the U.S. Supreme Court.

UPDATE — Troy Davis was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m.

It was a long night at the Georgia capitol.

As early as 4 p.m., opponents of the death penalty gathered along Washington Street and on the stairs of the capitol to demonstrate against the execution of Troy Davis. After a three-hour delay during which the U.S. Supreme Court decided whether or not a stay would be granted to the Georgia death row inmate, it was announced a stay had been denied. Barring a miracle, Davis will be put to death tonight.

Fox 5 News spoke with Amnesty International's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign Director Laura Moye minutes ago, who said, "I think people are just profoundly saddened, because it seems the way has been paved for Troy Davis will be executed. Troy Davis will soon be strapped to a gurney and injected with lethal chemicals to end his life."

Even early in the evening, supporters in downtown Atlanta were cautiously hopeful that the Supreme Court would intervene. Some weren't hopeful at all. A bespectacled attorney who asked not to be identified said, based on his professional experience, he didn't think there was much chance the Supreme Court would stop the execution. Still, hundreds of people stuck around for hours, praying, singing songs and waving signs in support of Davis.

Jared Feuer of Amesty International spoke passionately at a podium on the capitol steps, and implored demonstrators to not allow the outrage to end tonight. "The death penalty is not based on guilt or innocence, money or saving lives — it is based in power, race, class, and they want us to know they will go forward with it no matter what," Feuer said. "They can shove it down our throats, but we can shove back. This cannot stop tonight. Tonight, we are going to learn how to get involved."

Tonight represents the fourth time Davis faced execution for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. In the years subsequent to his conviction, seven of the nine witnesses who implicated Davis retracted their statements, and the doubt that surrounded Davis' guilt made him a human rights cause worldwide.

More photos from the Troy Davis vigil at the state capitol

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