Troy Davis Execution: Final Words, State of Death-Penalty Debate

Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed last night after a last-minute plea to the Supreme Court failed.

Stephen Morton / AP Photo

Jimmy Carter: Death Penalty 'Unjust and Outdated' Sept. 22, 2011 1:10 PM EDT

Though President Obama was reluctant to weigh in on the controversial execution of Troy Davis on Wednesday, his predecessor Jimmy Carter wasn’t so shy. Carter issued a statement partly reading, “If one of our fellow citizens can be executed with so much doubt surrounding his guilt, then the death penalty system in our country is unjust and outdated. We hope this tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment.” Davis was executed in Georgia, which is Carter’s home state. The former president pledged to redouble his efforts to fight capital punishment.


Troy Davis’s Final Words: ‘I Am Innocent’Sept. 22, 2011 7:15 AM EDT

After a three-and-a-half-hour delay, the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis Wednesday night, pronouncing him dead at 11:08 p.m. Davis had survived the day of his execution three times before when courts issued stays, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene this time, announcing its denial of a stay without explanation at about 10:20 p.m. Strapped to the gurney, Davis lifted his head and looked at Mark and William MacPhail, the son and brother of the police officer Davis was convicted of killing in 1989. “I am sorry for your loss,” Davis said. “I did not personally kill your son, father, and brother. I am innocent.” For those executing him, Davis said, "May God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls.” Davis then turned down an offer of a prayer. Fourteen minutes later he was dead.


Video: Crowds Mourn Troy Davis’ Death


A Primer on the Troy Davis CaseBy David A. Graham

Why is Davis’s case so controversial? What evidence was used to convict him—and what appeals did he make? David A. Graham recaps the man who has turned the death penalty debate on its head.



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Opinion: Our Sick Passion for Executions
By Lee Siegel

An international outcry and some belated media attention couldn’t stop Troy Davis from being put to death. But instead of the ongoing state crime of capital punishment, we’re obsessively debating his innocence—or better yet, the X Factor premiere.

“A robin redbreast in a cage / Puts all heaven in a rage,” wrote William Blake. As the Supreme Court delayed the execution of Troy Davis, Blake’s angry sentiment made you want to hang your head in shame. Here was a possibly innocent man not only imprisoned in a cage, but about to be killed by the state.READ MORE


Opinion: The Murder of Troy DavisBy Mansfield Frazier

Never mind the fact that during the 17th century, when the public hanging of pickpockets drew throngs to cities in England, pockets in the crowd were being picked as the trap door was being sprung … thus disproving the canard that the death penalty prevents crime; never mind the fact that the region of this country with the highest execution rate—the South—also has the highest murder rate; and never mind the fact that the Death Penalty Center’s website states that blacks who kill whites are 16.4 times as likely to be executed as whites who kill blacks … state-sanctioned murder in this country is obviously as American as apple pie.