Lawyers Make Last-Ditch Effort to Save U.S. Death Row Inmate

Posted September 21st, 2011 at 2:58 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. death row inmate Troy Davis is hours away from his execution, as his legal team and worldwide supporters make a last-ditch effort to save his life.

Davis' legal team tried several measures Wednesday, including offering for the 42-year-old to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence. Prison officials turned them down.

Supporters have set up a vigil across the street from the Georgia prison where Davis is being held. Activists are holding rallies in several cities across the United States and outside many U.S. embassies in Europe. On Twitter, the phrase “Who is Troy Davis?” is trending worldwide, with people answering the question with phrases like “A man who does NOT deserve to die.”

Davis is set to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. local time in Georgia for the 1989 shooting death of a police officer. This is the fourth time in four years the state has tried to execute him.

On Tuesday, the Georgia parole board rejected a final appeal from Davis, a move legal experts are saying was likely his last chance at life.

His case has drawn international attention for having no physical evidence linking him to the crime. Seven of the nine witnesses who helped convict Davis have retracted or recanted their testimony.

Pope Benedict, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a former FBI director and conservative Georgia politicians are among those who have questioned Davis' guilt and advocated on his behalf. Thousands of people around the world have rallied in recent days, and millions have signed petitions to stop Davis' execution.

Amnesty International released a statement Tuesday saying Davis' execution under an “enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice.” Amnesty Executive Director Larry Cox called the decision “unconscionable.”

The family of slain police officer Mark MacPhail stands by the court's ruling that Davis is guilty. MacPhail's widow says Davis has had “ample time to prove his innocence.”