The funeral for Troy Davis was held on Saturday and more than 1,000 people filled Savannah's Jonesville Baptist Church to bid farewell to the convicted cop killer.
The closed casket service lasted for three and a half hours. Those who had long fought against Davis' conviction and sentence wore I am Troy Davis wristbands inside a church filled with blue and white flowers -- the unofficial colors of the 42-year-old prisoner. Mourners were also given a small photo album with pictures of Davis from happier days inside.
Troy's last words that night were he told us to keep fighting until his name is cleared in Georgia, said Benjamin Todd Jealous, the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. But most important, keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished and this can never be done to anyone else.
Davis was executed by lethal injection on Sept. 21 at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison. Hundreds of people gathered outside the prison to protest the execution during the final effort to get the sentence revoked.
The campaign to free Davis lasted for nearly 20 years, and groups like Amnesty International and NAACP, as well as leaders such as President Jimmy Carter, Rev. Al Sharpton, Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Desmond Tutu supported Davis for many years.
In the months before he was put to death, almost one million people petitioned the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles for clemency, but all appeals were denied.
He transformed a prison sentence into a pulpit, the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said in his eulogy Saturday. He turned death row into a sanctuary.
In 1991, Davis was convicted of the August 1989 murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah, Georgia. Witnesses said that they saw Davis shoot MacPhail during an altercation. The events surrounding the murder and the trial were called into question a number of times, but after a number of appeals, the death sentence was held up by a Georgia court.
Mourners on Saturday recommitted themselves to the cause of clearing Davis' name and abolishing the death penalty in the United States.
We are gathered here in a place of the most unjust execution of mankind, said Davis' lawyer Jason Ewart. Jesus was killed on the cross, not because he was guilty, but because we are.
Many have spoken of Troy as a symbol, Ewart said. He was the soul of something profound.