Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia at 7 o'clock tonight. But as the hour neared, the Supreme Court stepped in with a stay.
Off-duty office Mark McPhail, 27, was working as a guard at a bus station in 1989 when he ran to the aid of a homeless woman who had been pistol whipped. As he approached Davis and two others, Davis shot him with "smirk on his face," according to an eyewitness. Davis was convicted of the killing in 1991.
Since then all but two witnesses who testified against Davis withdrew their testimony, former President Carter and Bishop Desmond Tutu have asked for clemency and three new witnesses have claimed that Sylvester "Red" Coles has since confessed to the murder. Coles refused to discuss the case with the Associated Press in 2007.
Despite all this, the Georgia Supreme Court has twice rejected his request for a new trial, and rejected his appeal to delay the execution by a 6-1 vote Monday afternoon. The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles also turned down his bid for clemency after a day-long hearing.
Davis' attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the execution until it has a chance to discuss whether to hear the case at a conference next week. The court could decide within hours.
"The world is watching Georgia," said Martina Correia, Davis' sister. "Everything you do in the dark always comes back to light."