US death row inmate's appeal fails

Georgia's board of pardons has rejected a last-ditch clemency bid from Troy Davis, a day before his scheduled execution.

    Reverend Warnock said the Davis case is a "human rights violation in the worst way" [AFP]

    Georgia's board of pardons has rejected a last-ditch clemency bid from Troy Davis, a day before his scheduled execution in a racially charged case where his supporters claim he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

    Davis is scheduled to die on Wednesday at 23:00 GMT by injection for killing off-duty officer Mark MacPhail. It is the fourth time in four years that Davis' execution has been scheduled by Georgia officials.

    The five-member Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles spent Monday hearing from Davis's supporters, prosecutors and the family of the victim before issuing its verdict on Tuesday.

    "The board has considered the totality of the information presented in this case and thoroughly deliberated on it, after which the decision was to deny clemency," a written statement said. It did not disclose the vote breakdown.

    The victim's widow and - now grown-up - children are set to attend the execution.

    "We've been here three times before," said Anneliese MacPhail, the mother of the slain police officer. "We are ready to close this book and start our lives. This has been a long haul."

    Testimonies questioned

    Davis has captured worldwide attention after his supporters raised concerns that he was a victim of mistaken identity. Several of the witnesses who helped convict Davis at his 1991 trial have backed off their testimony or
    recanted. Others who did not testify say another man at the scene admitted to the shooting.

    Davis, who is black, was convicted 20 years ago of the fatal shooting of 27-year-old white police officer Mark MacPhail.

    MacPhail had been working nights as a security guard when he intervened to defend a homeless man in a brawl in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah, Georgia and was shot in the heart and the head at point-blank range.

    There was no physical evidence tying Davis, who was 20 years old at the time of the murder, to the crime.

    The case has become an international cause celebre for death penalty opponents.

    Davis supporters said they would push the pardons board to reconsider the case and urge prison workers to strike or call in sick on Wednesday to prevent the execution. They would also ask prosecutors to block the
    execution.

    "This is a civil rights violation and a human rights violation in the worst way," reverend Raphael Warnock, who spoke to the board on Davis' behalf on Monday, said. "There's too much doubt for this execution to continue.''

    SOURCE: Agencies


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