Families React to Stay of Execution - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

07/17/07

Families React to Stay of Execution

Mark Allen MacPhail, Jr. Mark Allen MacPhail, Jr.
Martina Carreia Martina Carreia

Troy Anthony Davis, the man convicted of killing a Savannah police officer, has been granted a stay of execution. The 38-year-old Davis was scheduled to die today for the August, 1989, shooting death of Officer Mark MacPhail in the Burger King parking lot at the Oglethorpe Avenue bus station.

A clemency hearing before the state Board of Pardons and Paroles was held yesterday in Atlanta. Davis' lawyers spent more than five hours pleading with the board to grant a reprieve to their client.

The board deliberated for less than an hour, granting a stay of up to 90 days while it weighs the evidence presented as part of Davis' request for clemency.

Family members say Davis has been preparing for a chance to clear his name. "He's been fasting and praying and talking to all his friends and writing letters to as many people as he can and telling people that, you know, we always have an understanding that this could go either way," said his sister, Martina Carreia.

Among those who argued for clemency on Davis' behalf was US Rep. John Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat.

Davis' lawyer said the board's decision took off some pressure and they can present the rest of their case.

But members of the MacPhail family said they were disappointed by the decision, and that the hearing brought back terrible memories. "Just like it was living without a father and how it felt having him ripped away from you at such an early age," said Officer MacPhail's 18-year-old son, Mark Allen MacPhail, Jr.

MacPhail's widow says the decision sets a precedent for criminals that it's all right to kill a police officer and get away with it.

For all our coverage of the case from the wtoc.com archive, click here.

Contact the WTOC News team