Last Meal and Words: Witnesses to Troy Davis Execution Reveal Details

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

As the world watched and questions still swirled, convicted cop killer Troy Davis was executed in a prison in Georgia Wednesday night. As Opposing Views reported, the case garnered international attention because of the doubts that Davis was guilty of the crime.

Several of the witnesses who testified that Davis was the gunman later recanted their testimony. Howeve,r prosecutors insist a guilty man was put to death, pointing out that he had 20 years to prove his innocence and could not convince a single court.

In addition to Davis's family members as well as those of the victim, five reporters witnessed the execution. It should be noted that Davis refused his last meal, saying: "This will not be my last meal."

Here are the accounts from three of the reporters who covered the execution:

Greg Bluestein, Associated Press
It didn't take long to notice Troy Davis' execution was different from the others I've covered. As I drove up to the prison, I could see the crowds of protesters and a group of at least 50 reporters.

I've covered about 10 executions in Georgia. None of them are easy. This was by far the most unusual.

We ended up waiting for more than four hours in a somber prison break room. We made small talk and speculated about whether the U.S. Supreme Court could intervene. At times, it was silent.

Around 10:30 p.m., a guard walked in and said: "You ready?"

Rhonda Cook, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
As the officer called our names, we lined up and left the room where we had waited for so long, oblivious to the last-ditch effort to spare Davis and the police presence and protests beyond the prison's walls.

In the death chamber, we took our seats on the last of three pews.

Warden Carl Humphrey began the process by reading the execution order signed by Chatham County Judge Penny Haas Freesmann. "The court having sentenced defendant Troy Anthony Davis on the third day of September, 1991, to be executed…."

Then he asked Davis if he has any final words. Yes, the condemned man said and he raised his head so he could look at Mark MacPhail, Jr., who was an infant when his father was murdered, and William MacPhail, the dead officer’s brother.

JoAnn Merrigan, WSAV News
Davis said: "I want to address the members of the MacPhail family. Despite the situation we are all in, you think I’ve killed your father, your brother, your husband, I’m not the person, I’m innocent, what happened was not my fault, I did not have a gun that night, I did not shoot your family member. I’m so sorry for your loss, I really am. I hope you will finally see the truth and others will, too. To my family and supporters, thank you for your prayers and continue to pray.  For those about to take my life, I forgive you. God bless you all."

The warden then read the death warrant. Davis looked out at the crowd, and though he seemed calm, it did appear he was somewhat scared.

The room was very quiet when the injections began.

Davis blinked his eyes rapidly. He squeezed them tight. 

Within minutes, Troy Anthony Davis slipped out of consciousness and in 14 minutes he was dead.

A three-drug cocktail ended his life. First pentobarbital put Davis in a drug-induced coma. The paralytic pancuronium bromide was second. Potassium chloride stopped Davis’ heart.

One doctor checked his pulse and placed a stethoscope on his chest. Then the second doctor performed the same procedure. At the end, the second doctor looked at the first and nodded his head.

The warden then said: "At 11:08 September 21st, the court ordered execution of Troy Davis was carried out in accordance with the laws of Georgia."

Curtains in the death chamber were closed and we were quickly ushered out.