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Report: Troy Davis gets execution reprieve from U.S. Supreme Court, justices still weighing case

Troy Anthony Davis
Death-row inmate Troy Davis AP/Georgia Dept. of Corrections

(CBS/WGCL/AP) ATLANTA - U.S. Supreme Court granted Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis a reprieve Wednesday night so justices can consider his last minute appeal, minutes before he was set to die by lethal injection.

CBS affiliate WGCL reported the reprieve was granted minutes before Davis' scheduled execution for the 1989 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Justices may announce a final ruling tonight, the station reports.

Dozens of people who came to the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson cheered as news of the reprieve became known.

Davis, the condemned inmate who convinced hundreds of thousands of people but not the justice system of his innocence, filed an eleventh-hour plea asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Georgia authorities from executing him.

The Supreme Court of Georgia had unanimously denied a stay of execution at around 5:30 p.m.

Davis, 42, was scheduled to be put to death Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

The Georgia Supreme Court denied Davis's Motion for Stay of Execution, as well as his request for the Court to hear another appeal.

Just before 4:30 p.m. a Butts County judge also refused to stop Davis' execution.

Six retired corrections officials, including Dr. Allen Ault, retired director of the Georgia Department of Corrections and former warden of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison where he oversaw executions for the state, sent a letter Tuesday to the board requesting that it reconsider Davis's case.

"We know the legal process has exhausted itself in the case of Troy Anthony Davis, and yet, doubt about his guilt remains," stated the letter. "This very fact will have an irreversible and damaging impact on your staff."

Attorneys for Davis also requested permission to give him a polygraph test before his scheduled execution. A defense attorney said Georgia prison officials have blocked that request.

The appeal argues that ballistic testing that linked Davis to the shooting was flawed. It also says that trial testimony of "jailhouse snitch" Kevin McQueen was "absolutely false." McQueen testified that Davis had confessed to him that he murdered Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.

Davis was convicted in 1991 and sentenced to death in the 1989 killing of MacPhail, who was working a side job as a security guard in Savannah when he was shot and killed while rushing to help a homeless man who had been attacked.

Davis' supporters, including Rev. Al Sharpton, rallied at the prison in Jackson in the hours leading up to his death.

Davis' met with friends and family from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. At 3 p.m., he will undergo a routine physical.

Davis did not eat his last meal and Davis declined the opportunity to record his final statement at 5 p.m.

Complete Coverage of Troy Davis on Crimesider

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