After years of appeals and a series of legal setbacks, Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia at 11:08 p.m. ET on Wednesday (September 21). The controversial case witnessed a number of twists and turns throughout the years and most recently on the day Davis was originally set to be executed at 7 PM by lethal injection. Attorneys for the Davis family filed two separate appeals, one to the U.S. Supreme Court that seemed to take affect, causing a temporary delay. However, shortly after 10:30 p.m. a decision handed down by the high court sought for the execution to move forward. Davis was formally executed shortly after.
Troy Davis spoke one final time before the execution, maintaining his innocence until the very end.
“I did not personally kill your son, father and brother” Davis said speaking to the family of the slain officer. “I am innocent.”
The execution comes after a day of emotion filled protests attended by family members, celebrities and supporters outside of the Georgia facility where Davis was executed. Earlier that day Outkast rapper Big Boi was on hand for the protest to save Troy Davis’ life where he asked for everyone to pray for the inmate.
“The best thing to do is you gotta pray,” Big Boi said on Wednesday’s “RapFix Live” via Skype from Atlanta. “Anything is possible; we’re looking for a miracle right now.”
Other members of the hip-hop community weighed in on the Troy Davis execution.
” ‘May God have Mercy on their Souls.’ ‘May god bless your souls’ – Troy Davis RIP” Diddy tweeted.
“My heart hurts bad” rapper Busta Rhymes added in.
“This Troy Davis stuff, is breaking my heart …” Wale wrote in the social network.
“#RIP Troy Davis and Mark McPhail” Bun B tweeted. “Prayers for both of their families. And yours and mines as well.”
Hip-Hop mogul Russell Simmons shared his disappointment with the execution but asked for others to act in a non-violent manner.
“Although we’re disheartened by decision of Supreme Court about Troy Davis, PLEASE do not react with any sort of violence.”
In 1991 Davis was convicted of the August 19, 1989 murder of Officer Mark McPhails in Savannah, Georgia. McPhails was off-duty at the time, working as security guard when the shooting occurred in a Burger King parking lot. He was shot twice trying to intervene during an assault on another man.
Davis maintained his innocence all along, and the verdict has been appealed several times on the grounds that Davis had not received a fair trial. Davis’ execution date has been stayed on three previous occasions as a result. Despite these appeals – due in large part to witnesses recanting some or their entire story – The U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia upheld the conviction in August 2010. Further appeals were rejected and Davis was set to be executed September 21, 2011.
Over the years Davis has garnered the support of Amnesty International, former president Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many more, each calling for Davis to be retried or to receive an evidentiary hearing. Davis has also received love from the hip-hop community.
Before Davis was put to death he asked that his family continue to “look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth.” In his final words Troy Davis motioned towards the prison officials who administered his death, speaking for the last time.
“May God have mercy on your souls” said Davis. “May God bless your souls.’”