Troy Davis' Last Request

Troy Davis’ last words before his execution on Wednesday night included this call: The tragedy of American capital punishment must be brought to an end.
Troy Davis crowd by World Coalition

After twenty years of attempts to prove his innocence, Troy Anthony Davis was put to death by the state of Georgia on Wednesday night.


Shortly before his execution, his sister Martina Davis-Correia made an emotional appeal for an end to "the atrocities" that are happening in jails and prisons. (Davis-Correia wrote about her years of effort to win the release of her brother in the "Beyond Prisons" issue of YES! Magazine.)

 And in this video, she and others cast doubt that Davis was in fact the person who murdered Mark MacPhail.


Crowds of Davis supporters gathered outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where the execution took place, outside the White House, and in other cities from Portland, Ore., to Paris. Hundreds of thousands signed petitions, wrote letters, and made phone calls. President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu were among those asking for clemency. The twitter hashtags #TroyDavis, #MrDavis, and others related to the case were trending worldwide on Wednesday night as people from around the world waited to see if a person whose guilt is in doubt would be executed.

Troy Davis was declared dead at 11:08 pm EST.

Thomas Ruffin, attorney and witness to the execution, told Democracy Now! that among Davis' last words was a request was for "an end to the madness of capital punishment."

The day before his execution, Davis said this: "The struggle for justice doesn't end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I'm in good spirits and I'm prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I've taken my last breath."

Troy Davis' life, and the ending of his life by the state of Georgia, have brought renewed urgency to efforts to end the death penalty and the racial bias in the criminal justice system, which punishes people of color far more harshly than their white counterparts.


  • Colorlines' photo essay from "a wrenching night of global solidarity."

  • Why real justice means fewer prisons.

  • Why? The death penalty drains money from strapped state budgets, and police chiefs don't consider it effective in deterring crime. 

  • Inside Sister Helen Prejean's crusade to change the pope's mind on the death penalty.
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