View Video The Life And Trials Of Troy Davis
The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected condemned murderer Troy Anthony Davis’ appeal, closing the final hurdle to his execution for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
The ruling, which had been widely anticipated since Friday’s conference of the court’s justices in the case, frees prosecutors to seek a new death warrant from Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann.
MacPhail was gunned down Aug. 19, 1989, in the parking lot of the Greyound Bus Terminal/Burger King restaurant on Oglethorpe Avenue.
Davis was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991.
Click here to read the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion on the Davis case.
Joan MacPhail said today the high court’s decision in her husband’s slaying was a “relief.’’
She anticipated the Davis family continuing to file appeals but said that was their right.
“God will take care of it,’’ she said.
Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton Jr. today blasted what he called the delaying tactics used in the Davis appeals. His comments ended 17 years of silence in the case as it wound its way through the various courts.
"I have made no attempt to sway judicial or world opinion by extra-judicial gesticulating," Lawton said.
“It must be noted that the whole process has been … unfair, not only to the defendant – the interminable delays broken only by intensely frenetic activity – but far more importantly, to his family, who have suffered deeply and striven desperately,’’ Lawton said.
“And in this delay the criminal justice system has hardly bathed itself in glory. The judiciary’s only currency … is its credibility. … Unfairness has a corrosive effect on credibility.’’
Amnesty International USA, which had been a leading voice for Davis, immediately decried the ruling, which it said effectively ended a longstanding battle to have new evidence in Davis’ favor heard in a court of law.
“The Supreme Court’s decision is truly shocking, given that significant evidence of Davis’ innocence will never have a chance to be examined,” said Larry Cox, executive director for group.