Judge signs order to execute Troy Davis

Longtime death-row inmate could be executed later this month


Troy Davis, the death-row inmate who’s long maintained he didn’t kill a Savannah police officer more than 20 years ago, could be executed later this month, the Associated Press reports.

A Chatham County judge signed the death warrant for Troy Davis on Tuesday, marking the fourth time since 2007 that the state has a scheduled an execution for Davis. The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the execution in March by rejecting an appeal by Davis.

The Georgia Attorney General’s office did not immediately comment on the order, which was provided to the Associated Press by Davis’ defense attorney Brian Kammer. It sets a window between Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 for the execution.

In 1991, Davis was convicted — based solely on eyewitness testimony — of killing Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer, at a bus station. Seven of the nine eyewitnesses later recanted their testimony. Efforts to win Davis another chance to present his case have been unsuccessful. In addition to human rights organizations and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, notables including former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI have asked the state to spare Davis’ life.

Amnesty International USA writes on its blog:

An execution is NOT inevitable. This merely sets the clemency process in motion. Before Sept. 21, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles will rule on whether Troy Davis’ sentence should be commuted, or whether the execution should be carried out as scheduled. Previously, the Board stated that it would not allow an execution unless there was “no doubt” as to guilt.

The human rights organization, which has played a key role in the push to grant Davis a new trial, says a Day of Solidarity will be scheduled once the Board of Pardons makes its decision.