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Troy Davis’s Funeral Draws Large Crowd
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Troy Davis’s Funeral Draws Large Crowd

The funeral of accused cop killer, Troy Davis was attended by over one thousand people after the Davis family announced that it would be open to the public. That funeral, held at the Jonesville Baptist Church in Savannah lasted over three hours and was performed by the Reverend Raphael Warnock of the Ebenezer Church in Atlanta. Warnock had served as Davis’s spiritual adviser while on death row. Benjamin Jealous, the NAACP president, was also in attendance.

On Friday, nearly three hundred people gathered at the New Life Apostolic Temple, also in Savannah for a memorial service.

Troy Davis was 42 at the time of his execution, accused and convicted of the 1989 murder of an off duty policeman in a fast food restaurant. Eyewitnesses put Davis as the scene that night, which he did not deny, but up until the minute that he died from the lethal injections, Davis swore he did not have a gun in his possession. Several of those same eyewitnesses would later recant their testimony, with some saying that they were pressured by police officers to identify Davis as the shooter of Mark MacPhail.

Thousands of protesters stood outside the prison gates until the final moments, when Davis was pronounced dead. Silence fell through the crowd, occasionally broken by the sound of quiet sobbing. Davis’s long time childhood friend, Earl Redman, was a witness to the execution saying that his friend had repeatedly told him not to let his death be in vain. Davis spoke to the MacPhail family, telling them that he did not commit this crime. His final words were spoken to the prison officials saying, “ May God have mercy on your souls.”

The McPhail family was convinced of his guilt and fought his bids for clemency repeatedly. However, even the judge who heard his final bid for appeal expressed doubt over the conviction. That judge was forced to deny the request because of a lack of new or compelling proof of his innocence.

NAACP president, Benjamin Jealous was one of the many people who have called for the death penalty to be abolished, not only in Georgia or because of Troy Davis but because there is just so much doubt in so many of the cases. In Davis’s case, legal experts point out the lack of physical evidence and the fact that so many of the witnesses later recanted some or all of their given testimony.

The case went all the way to the Supreme Court who unanimously refused to stay the execution which was carried out as scheduled. Protesters outside of the prison were given the wrong impression, thinking that he was not going to be put to death, but learned as little as five minutes later that the proceedings were moving forward. After his death, many were stunned and outraged, including Representative Hank Johnson who refused to use the term execution in his remarks. Instead, Johnson spoke to the public, saying that Davis had been “killed by the citizens of Georgia.”


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