By BILL RANKIN
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal from death-row inmate Troy Davis, refusing to consider his case even though seven of nine key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony since the 1991 trial.
The decision means a new death warrant will be obtained and a new execution date will be set in the coming weeks.
Davis was condemned to die for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. The 27-year-old father of two, working off duty, was shot dead after he responded to the cries of a homeless man being pistol whipped in a Burger King parking lot.
Davis’ lawyers had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to declare that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment bars the execution of the innocent and requires at least a court hearing to assess the recantation testimony. Davis’ claims of innocence have attracted international attention.
Davis had been scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Sept. 23. But, with less than two hours to spare, the high court halted the execution to give the justices more time to consider whether to hear his appeal.
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