Troy Davis execution set to go ahead as judge rejects last-ditch appeal

From The Guardian:

Death row inmate Troy Davis's hopes of a last-minute reprieve were fading after Georgia courts refused to halt the execution scheduled for 7pm local time on Wednesday.

The state's supreme court rejected a last-ditch appeal by Davis' lawyers over the 1989 murder of an off-duty policeman Mark MacPhail, despite overwhelming evidence that the conviction is unreliable. Earlier, a Butts County superior court judge also declined to stop the execution.

His attorneys had filed an appeal challenging ballistics evidence linking Davis to the crime, and eyewitness testimony identifying Davis as the killer.

With less than an hour to go until the lethal injection is administered, Davis's last hope was an intervention by the US supreme court but few observers believe that is likely.

At the maximum security prison in Jackson where the execution is scheduled to take place, busloads of Troy Davis supporters from his home town of Savannah came in to register their anger and despair at what they all agree is the planned judicial killing of an innocent man.

Edward Dubose, a leader of the Georgia branch of the civil rights group NAACP, said it was not an execution but "murder".

The protest heard from Martina Correia, Davis's eldest sister, who delivered a statement from about 20 family members gathered around her. She was heavily critical of what she described as the defiance of the state of Georgia and it's inability to admit that it had made a mistake.

She pointed out that the state's parole board had vowed in 2007 that no execution would take place if there was any doubt. "every year there is more and more doubt yet still the state pushes for an execution."

Suffering from cancer herself, Correia struggled to her feet in honour of her brother, just a few hours from his probable death. But she exhorted people not to give up.

"if you can get millions of people to stand up against this you can end the death penalty. We shouldn't have to live in a state that executes people when there's doubt."

Dubose gave N account of a 30-minute conversation he had with Davis on death row on Tuesday night. "Troy wanted me to let you know – keep the faith. The fight is bigger than him."

Dubs said that whether the execution went ahead or not the fight would continue. He said Davis antes his case to set an example "that the death penalty in this country needs to end. They call it execution we call it murder."

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