Inmate executed after failed appeal
US state of Georgia inmate Troy Davis has been executed for the killing of an off-duty police officer in a case that has drawn worldwide support over his claims of innocence.
Courts consistently ruled against him, however, and the officer's family said they finally have justice after 22 years.
Davis was pronounced dead just after 4am UK time. He was put to death for the 1989 killing of Mark MacPhail. The officer was shot dead while rushing to help a homeless man being attacked by Davis and others.
Davis told relatives of Mr MacPhail that his 1989 murder was not his fault. "I did not have a gun," he insisted. He said to prison officials: "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls. May God bless your souls."
The lethal injection began about 15 minutes before Davis, 42, was declared dead, after the Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour request for a stay.
The court did not comment on its order, which came about four hours after it received the request and more than three hours after the planned execution time. "He had all the chances in the world," his victim's mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said. "It has got to come to an end."
Though Davis' attorneys said seven of nine key witnesses against him disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial.
Davis' supporters staged vigils in the US and Europe, declaring "I am Troy Davis" on signs, T-shirts and the internet. At a Paris rally, many of the roughly 150 demonstrators carried signs emblazoned with Davis' face.
As many as 700 demonstrators gathered outside the prison as a few dozen riot police stood watch, but the crowd thinned as the night wore on and the outcome became clear.
About 10 counter-demonstrators also were outside the prison, showing support for the death penalty and the family of Mr MacPhail. Mr MacPhail's son and brother attended the execution.