Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Troy Davis, Georgia death row inmate, wants to take lie detector test before execution

Wednesday, September 21st 2011, 10:10 AM

Troy Davis (left) is sentenced to die for killing police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
Georgia Dept. of Corrections; Savannah Police Dept.
Troy Davis (left) is sentenced to die for killing police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.
Protesters demonstrate in support of Troy Davis.
Jessica McGowan/Getty
Protesters demonstrate in support of Troy Davis.

A Georgia death row inmate volunteered to take a lie detector test in a desperate last-ditch effort to avoid his Wednesday night execution.

Troy Davis is set to enter the death chamber at 7 p.m., his penalty for the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer shot to death after coming to the aid of an assaulted homeless man.

The bid by Davis was part of a flurry of activity to spare him a lethal injection, including a late appeal by his attorneys and protests outside the prison.

Prison officials in Georgia had no immediate response to Davis' polygraph offer, and attorney Stephen Marsh said his clients wouldn't take the test unless authorities agreed to consider the results.

Davis "doesn't want to spend three hours away from his family on what could be the last day of his life if it won't make any difference," Marsh said.

Davis insists he did not commit the heinous murder.

Davis, 42, turned down a last meal to spend the day with friends, family and backers of his bid to win clemency. His case has become an international cause celebre, with advocates through the U.S. and Europe advocating for his life.

His supporters include former FBI director William Sessions, ex-President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI.

The state first planned to execute Davis in July 2007, but Davis has avoided walking the last mile as attorneys argued for his innocence.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court granted Davis a rare opportunity to prove his innocence in the slaying of Mark McPhail - but his lawyers couldn't pull it off.

His conviction was repeatedly upheld by state and federal courts, with prosecutors maintaining all along that the right man was convicted for the murder.

"He has had ample time to prove his innocence," said Joan McPhail-Harris, the slain officer's widow. "And he is not innocent."

Authorities said a smirking Davis pistol-whipped homeless man Larry Young in the parking lot of a Burger King when McPhail came to the injured man's aid - and was then gunned down.

Witnesses identified Davis as the gunman, and shell casings found at the scene were linked to an earlier shooting where Davis was convicted.

His lawyers say seven prosecution witnesses have changed some or all of their testimony since Davis was convicted in 1991.

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