The case of Troy Davis had lingered for over 20 years. Arrested and charged for the crime of killing an off-duty police officer in Georgia in 1989, Davis maintained his innocence throughout; his lawyers and friends pointed to the absence of any physical evidence linking him to the crime and the fact that 7 of the 9 original witnesses in his trial had recanted their testimony. While Georgia's prosecutor and the victim's family remained convinced of Davis' guilt, the media picked up on the story in the weeks ahead of the executiondate and rallies massed across various American cities urging for his execution to be stayed.
But despite appeals that went all the way to the Supreme Court, Davis was refused clemency by the state of Georgia and executed on Sept. 21 for opponents of capital punishment, yet another death penalty victim whom many consider innocent of wrongdoing. He maintained his innocence in the slaying of Savannah police office Mark MacPhail right up to the end, telling MacPhail's relatives from the gurney: "I did not have a gun."
His final statement ended: "I ask my family and friends that you all continue to pray, that you all continue to forgive. Continue to fight this fight. For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on all of your souls. God bless you all."