The U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday issued a stay of execution for Troy Anthony Davis less than two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.
Davis, 39, sits on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, killing of Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. He was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s justices are scheduled to decide Monday whether to hear an appeal of a ruling issued in March by the Georgia Supreme Court. In that 4-3 decision, the state Supreme Court rejected Davis’ request that he be granted a new trial or a court hearing to present new evidence.
In its order, the U.S. Supreme Court said if the justices decline to accept Davis’ appeal, “this stay shall terminate immediately.” If the appeal is granted, the stay will remain in force until the high court issues its ultimate ruling on Davis’ appeal, the order said.
Davis claims he did not commit the crime. Since his 1991 trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses who testified against him have recanted their testimony.
On Monday, the state Board of Pardons and Paroles declined to reconsider its decision to deny Davis clemency and the Georgia Supreme Court, by a 6-1 vote, declined to issue a stay of execution.
From the AJC.