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Troy Davis executed by lethal injection

The 42-year-old spent more than two decades on death row for a crime he always maintained he did not commit. His request for a polygraph test before his execution was denied.

Demonstrators hold a vigil for death row inmate Troy Davis in front of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011.
Demonstrators hold a vigil for death row inmate Troy Davis in front of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011.
Image: Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images

US DEATH ROW inmate Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection last night, after spending half of his life in prison for a crime he always maintained he did not commit.

Despite calls for clemency from across the globe, the state of Georgia decided to refuse Davis’ last appeal yesterday. His appeal for a polygraph test before his execution was also denied.

The 42-year-old was killed by the state shortly after 4am, Irish time, after the execution being delayed for a number of hours as the US Supreme Court considered a last minute appeal.

In a statement released last night, Davis thanked his supporters for the efforts and dedication to “human rights and human kindness”. He expressed his gratitude for letters he had received from supporters, saying: “I cannot see you all but I can imagine your faces, I cannot hear you speak but your letters take me to the far reaches of the world, I cannot touch you physically but I feel your warmth everyday I exist”.

He said: “This movement to end the death penalty, to seek true justice, to expose a system that fails to protect the innocent must be accelerated… We need to dismantle this unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country”.

Associated Press reporter Greg Bluestein, who was present at the execution, described Davis’ last moments:

By the time we were inside, officials had already strapped Davis to the gurney. There was a glass window with a curtain separating Davis from the witnesses, who sat in three rows of seats. There were about 20 of us.

Davis searched for Ewart (MacPhail family laywer), who nodded slightly when they locked eyes. MacPhail Jr, sitting in the front row, focused on Davis.

When it was time to deliver his last words, Davis seized the moment, speaking quickly and confidently.

He told the MacPhail family he was not responsible for the death. “I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault,” he said.

Davis urged his supporters to “continue to fight the fight.” And just before the lethal drugs coursed through his veins, he offered a message to his executioners: “God have mercy on your souls.”

The mother of the murdered police officer Mark MacPhail spoke to reporters after the execution, saying that she felt” numb”. Anneliese MacPhail said that she expected all the feelings of relief and peace that she had been waiting for to come later, reports Seattlepi.com.

The MacPhail family has always maintained that Davis was guilty and supported the penalty of death handed down by the state.

Davis spent more than two decades in prison after being convicted of the 1989 murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail, but has always insisted that he did not kill him and was not carrying a gun in the night in question.

Davis’ campaign attracted the support of many high-profile figures, including former US president Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI. Amnesty International also campaigned intensely on Davis’ behalf, pointing out that much of the evidence presented in Davis’ original trial was based on testimony that has since been withdrawn.

No physical evidence ever linked Davis to the crime.

“The state of Georgia has seen fit to put a man to death despite serious doubts about his guilt. It is an act of utter contempt for the right to life and to justice,”said Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland.

Extending his condolences to the Davis family, O’Gorman said: “His spirit will walk next to the millions of people around the world who will not stop marching, protesting and fighting until the death penalty is abolished once and for all”.

Additional reporting the AP

Read Troy Davis’ final statement here>

Read more: Troy Davis’ final appeal denied, execution to go ahead>

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