Thousands of people Saturday gathered in Georgia, U.S. for the funeral of Troy Davis, who was executed on Sep. 21 for the 1989 killing of Mark Allen MacPhail, 27, an off-duty Savannah police officer. Davis was convicted in 1991 and was sentenced to die as punishment for his crimes.
MacPhail was working as a security guard at the time of his death and trying to aid a homeless man when he was shot. Prior to his execution, Davis is believed to have told the slain police officer's relatives that he was innocent and he did not kill him. 42-year-old Troy Davis was declared dead at 11:08 p.m. ET, fifteen minutes after receiving a lethal injection and four hours after he was scheduled to receive it. The delay was due to a last-minute appeal that was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The funeral, held inside Savannah's Jonesville Baptist Church, witnessed a large turnout that included family, friends and supporters and lasted for three-and-a-half-hours.
Davis' casket was covered with a mass of blue and white roses and had two photos on either side - one of Davis as a young boy and one of him at his murder trial. The service was open both to his supporters and the general public. The burial, though, will be attended only by the family. Davis' sisters Martina Correia and Kimberly Davis, along with his nephew, 17-year-old DeJaun Davis-Correia, were among the family members who attended the funeral on Saturday.
Supporters mourned Davis as a martyr and foot soldier and vowed to keep fighting to clear his name, according to reports by Associated Press. The crowd of supporters at the funeral was also chanting the slogan: I am Troy Davis, which was adopted and popularized by activists during Davis' trial.
Troy's last words that night were he told us to keep fighting until his name is cleared in Georgia. But most important, keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished and this can never be done to anyone else, Benjamin Jealous, the National President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said.
In a report on CBC News, Davis professed his innocence just before his execution.
I am innocent. The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask ... is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth, Davis is believed to have said.
I'm kind of numb. I can't really believe it has happened. All the feelings of relief and peace I've been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace, Anneliese MacPhail, the victim's mother, said, according to reports.
Thousands of people coordinated rallies and protested from Georgia to Washington and from Paris to Ghana, the night Davis was executed. His supporters have alleged that the outcome of Davis' trial may have been biased by considerations of race and racism.