The US Supreme Court rejected what may be the final appeal for Troy Davis of a 1991 conviction and death sentence for the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail.
Davis has maintained that he is innocent, and his lawyers have appealed many times without success. This latest rejection means that Georgia authorities will now be setting a new execution date for Davis. He was previously scheduled to be executed by lethal injection in 2007 and again in 2008.
Davis was convicted based solely on eyewitness testimony, one of the most common causes of wrongful convictions. In addition, seven of nine witnesses who testified against Davis at his trial have recanted all or part of their testimony. Still, the Supreme Court rejected Davis’ request for a stay of execution. No DNA is available in this case to conclusively establish his innocence.
Davis’ case has garnered international attention, with high-profile figures such as Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, and Pope Benedict XVI speaking out on Davis’ behalf.