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Georgia board denies clemency for Davis

ATLANTA -- Georgia's board of pardons rejected a last-ditch clemency bid from Troy Davis on Tuesday, one day before his scheduled execution, despite support from an ex-president and a former FBI director for the claim that he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

Davis is scheduled to die today at 7 p.m. by injection for killing off-duty Savannah officer Mark MacPhail, who was shot dead while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked. It is the fourth time in four years that Davis' execution has been scheduled by Georgia officials.

"Justice was finally served for my father," said Mark MacPhail Jr., who was an infant when his father was gunned down. "The truth was finally heard."

The decision appeared to leave Davis with little chance of avoiding execution. Defense attorney Jason Ewart has said the pardons board was probably the last option, but he didn't rule out filing another appeal.

Kim Davis, the inmate's sister, declined to comment immediately on the decision. His supporters said they will push the pardons board to reconsider the case and urge prison workers to strike or call in sick today to prevent Davis' execution. They also will push Savannah prosecutors to block the execution.

"This is a civil rights violation and a human rights violation in the worst way," said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, who spoke to the board on Davis' behalf on Monday. "This is Jim Crow in a new era. There's too much doubt for this execution to continue."

Georgia's Board of Pardons and Paroles said it considered "the totality of the information presented" before deciding to deny clemency.

"The Board members have not taken their responsibility lightly and certainly understand the emotions attached to a death penalty case," the five-person panel said in a statement.

Davis' lawyers have long argued that Davis was a victim of mistaken identity. But prosecutors say they have no doubt that they charged the right person with the crime.

MacPhail was shot to death Aug. 19, 1989, after coming to the aid of Larry Young, a homeless man who was pistol-whipped in a Burger King parking lot. Prosecutors say Davis was with another man who was demanding that Young give him a beer when Davis pulled out a handgun and bashed Young with it.

When MacPhail arrived to help, they say, Davis had a smirk on his face when he shot the officer to death.

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