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The Daily Need

Photo: Troy Davis faces execution

An Amnesty International activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Embassy in support of death row inmate Troy Davis, Rome, Friday, Sept. 16, 2011. Davis has drawn a considerable amount of worldwide support, from the Vatican to the European Union, from President Jimmy Carter to Pope Benedict XVI. Photo: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Update, Sept. 22, 10:29 a.m.: After a last-minute delay of Troy Davis’s execution, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his request for a stay. Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night, shortly after 11 p.m. EDT. His official time of death was 11:08 p.m.

Phone calls are still pouring in, and people are still rallying in protest, but most signs still indicate that tonight, Troy Davis will be executed by the state of Georgia.

Davis, a 42-year-old man from Savannah, Ga., has been on death row for 20 years for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, a Savannah police officer killed while off duty. Amnesty International has defended Davis’s case for several years, arguing that a wealth of evidence casts significant doubt on the verdict. Since Davis’s trial, all but two of the witnesses in the case have recanted or changed their testimonies, and nine people have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester “Red” Coles, one of the two witnesses who did not recant his testimony, as the one who committed the murder. Moreover, no DNA matches, murder weapons or other physical evidence was ever found implicating Davis in the shooting.

Amnesty International and several other groups have led a mass movement to convince Georgia authorities to spare Davis from execution. Davis’s case has further focused national attention on the death penalty in the U.S., after recent Republican presidential debates highlighted Texas Governor Rick Perry’s death penalty record and the U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of Texas death row inmate Duane Edward Buck just last week.

Georgia’s State Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected Davis’s appeal for clemency Wednesday, and Davis’s last-minute request for a polygraph test was denied. Davis is scheduled to undergo a lethal injection at 7 p.m. EDT.

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