Claiming innocence to the end, Troy Davis executed in Georgia

Zachary Roth
September 22, 2011

Troy Davis was executed by lethal injection shortly after 11pm last night. In his last moments, he continued to proclaim his innocence.

"I am innocent," Davis said. "All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight."

Davis was convicted in 1991 of the murder of Lee MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah, Ga. police officer. But he has always said he didn't do it, and in recent years several key witnesses have recanted their testimony.

"I'm kind of numb. I can't believe that it's really happened," MacPhail's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said in a telephone interview from her home in Columbus, Ga. "All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace."

After the state parole board turned down Davis's last-ditch appeal Tuesday, he had been scheduled to die at 7pm Wednesday. But the U.S. Supreme Court was still mulling another last-minute appeal by his lawyers. A few hours later, however, the high court declined to intervene, ruling that Davis's lawyers had had several chances to prove his innocence and had failed.

Davis' case attracted international attention and galvanized opponents of the death penalty. "Troy Davis has impacted the world," his sister, Martina Correia said before the execution. "They say, `I am Troy Davis,' in languages he can't speak."