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U.S. state executes high-profile inmate after Supreme Court rejects plea

After a drawn-out and contentious legal process, the state of Georgia has executed death-row inmate Troy Davis amid enormous controversy and media attention.

Davis, a 42 year old black man who was convicted of killing a white off-duty police officer in 1989, was put to death by lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch stay of execution plea by Davis' legal team.

Uncertainty over the evidence used to convict Davis brought worldwide attention to the case.

"Put the blame where it belongs," said Amnesty International USA director Larry Cox in the minutes following the execution. "On a system that is broken."

Supporters of Davis point to the fact that seven of the original nine eye-witnesses who had testified against Davis have subsequently recanted some or all of their original testimonies.

No physical evidence was submitted to the court in the 1991 trial.

Prominent supporters of Davis include Amnesty International, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Throughout the day, crowds had gathered outside the White House, the U.S. Supreme Court, and on the grounds of the Jackson, Georgia prison in which Davis was executed.

Yesterday, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles rejected a clemency bid by Davis' legal team.

Davis' execution was originally scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. EST, but was delayed as the U.S. Supreme Court evaluated a stay of execution plea.

Over the course of the last decade, Davis' execution had been scheduled and then stayed three previous times.

Davis allegedly maintained his innocence until the moment of his execution. He died at 11:08 EST.

Ben Christopher reports for The Tyee

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