Troy Davis' story caught the attention of thousands around the world, and his funeral service drew 1,000 to the Jonesville Baptist Church in Savannah, Ga., on Saturday. Among the large gathering were family members and supporters such as the NAACP's president, who pledged to continue fighting until Davis' name is cleared.
Mourners were shown a slide show of Davis and his family. The speakers at the service included the death row inmate's nephew, Antone' De'Juan Davis-Correia, and the Rev. Raphael Warnock of Atlanta. Warnock served as spiritual adviser to Davis while he was on death row, according to USA Today.
Davis was executed Sept. 21 for the shooting death of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989 in a Burger King parking lot. Davis was tried for murder and convicted in 1991. His defense attorneys managed to save him from death on multiple occasions, but courts upheld the death sentence, despite pleas from citizens, death penalty supporters and opponents, and human-rights organizations.
Davis maintained his innocence for 20 years and reiterated that he was not at fault for the police officer's murder, even while he was in the Georgia death chamber.
The incident that night was not my fault, I did not have a gun, Davis told all who gathered for his execution. He also told the policeman's family that he was sorry for your loss, but I did not personally kill your son, father, and brother. I am innocent.
Those who attended the funeral service Saturday repeatedly chanted, I am Troy Davis, a slogan adopted while supporters were campaigning to spare Davis from lethal injection, according to CNN.
Look at those last two lines of your program today, said Benjamin Jealous, president of the NAACP. I am Troy Davis. And I am free.
We're going to keep on fighting until his name is finally cleared and Georgia admits what it has done, Jealous said, as reported by CNN. We're going to keep on fighting until the death penalty is abolished and this can never be done to anyone else.
Davis had lost all his appeals and asked a Georgia parole board to have him take a lie-detector test to clear his name.