Last night, after a three-hour delay, Troy Davis was killed by the state of Georgia. The Supreme Court statement refusing a stay of his execution consisted of a single sentence, and read, in its entirety, as follows: “The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied.” As far as we know, there was no dissent.
From the Democracy Now feed of the vigil outside the prison — which turned, with the news of the Supreme Court’s refusal, into live coverage of the killing — we know a few things. We know that, after a three-hour wait, not knowing whether he would live or die, Troy Davis refused the sedative offered to “calm” him. We know that he also refused dinner. We know that his last statements were to the McPhail family, telling them that he did not kill their “husband, brother, son,” and encouraging them to look for the truth. And then, finally, he spoke to his executioners: “May God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls.”
Witnesses to the event say that he spoke rapidly. One described him as “defiant,” a fairly coded word to use for a black man about to be killed by the state for a crime which, according to much of the evidence, he did not commit. He “blinked rapidly,” as the first round of drugs entered his system; someone went into the room to make sure that he was unconscious; then, another round of poison went into his system, killing him at 11:08 PM. The killing was described as very quiet, with the only sound being “the sound of the air conditioning.”
“There was more security than usual at this execution, but otherwise it went very much as executions have gone here… It went very much as planned,” according to one witness.
For more detail on this case, you can read S.E.’s earlier post on the subject. You can also follow what people are saying in the wake of Davis’s killing — which has been referred to, I think not inaccurately, as a “legal lynching” — by following the #TroyDavis and #RIPTroyDavis hashtags on Twitter, which served as a very valuable way for people to share news, protest, and create some community as they witnessed the killing. Arturo Garcia covered the case last night at Racialicious, and on Twitter, and did excellent work.
In the wake of Davis’s murder, a few initiatives have sprung up. Davis died at 11:08; many people are now donating $11.08 to The Innocence Project, a non-profit dedicated to exonerating innocent people who have been imprisoned. We’d encourage you to do this. Some are donating to Democracy Now. Amy Goodman’s coverage remained unflinching, exhaustive, and responsible in the midst of what was obviously an extremely trying night; Democracy Now kept broadcasting until they were kicked off the grounds, and Amy Goodman continued reporting even as many of the people present were struck speechless. We’d encourage you to donate to them as well, for the invaluable service they provided. Any information you can provide in the comments about worthwhile anti-death penalty organizations to support, or ways to help, will be very much appreciated.