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October 22 2008 | UNITED STATES

Georgia/USA

Davis' execution rescheduled for Oct. 27

 
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Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The state has set a time and date to execute Troy Anthony Davis

7 p.m. Oct. 27 —- even as his advocates continue to insist Georgia is about to execute an innocent man.

On Wednesday afternoon, Judge Penny Haas Freesemann in Chatham County signed a warrant for his lethal injection to occur between Oct. 27 and Nov. 3.

The Department of Corrections then set the specific time and date for Davis to be executed for killing off-duty police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

This is Davis' 3rd execution date in little more than a year. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles stopped the 1st one the day before Davis was to die by lethal injection on July 17, 2007. The U.S. Supreme Court stopped Davis' 2nd execution attempt 2 hours before he was to die on Sept. 23 so the justices could decide if they would hear Davis’ case.

Tuesday, the high court declined to step into the contentious debate over whether Davis is the real killer.

MacPhail, a 27-year-old father of two, was working off-duty Aug. 19, 1989, when he heard the cries of a homeless man being pistol whipped. MacPhail rushed to the parking lot to help.

Davis turned from the homeless man and shot MacPhail before the officer could draw his gun, according to testimony. Witnesses testified that once the wounded MacPhail was on the ground, Davis shot him two or three times more.

Davis' case drew international attention after 7 of 9 key prosecution witnesses against him recanted their testimony. They claimed they had been pressured to say they saw Davis shoot MacPhail in a Burger King parking lot.

Pope Benedict XVI and former President Jimmy Carter were among those challenging the fairness of the execution.

In a prepared statement Wednesday, Rama Yade, minister of state for foreign affairs and human rights for France, begged Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles to step in, even though the board declined to stop Davis' execution last month.

"He's innocent," said Jason Ewart, one of Davis' attorneys. "It's unfortunate that, without his day in court, Mr. Davis' evidence will never be heard, and it's a good chance an innocent man might perish for the sake of finality over fairness."

Ewart said the next step for Davis' volunteer lawyers has not been decided.

"We are considering all our options," he said. "The goal we've always had is to get the new evidence, including the recantations, in front of a judge so that judge can assess it."

The officer's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, 75, on Tuesday expressed relief at the high court's decision. She said she did not plan to attend Davis’ execution, though 2 of her 4 remaining children want to witness it.

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