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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

U.S. Supreme Court delays execution of Ga.

ATLANTA (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court gave a reprieve to a Georgia inmate less than two hours before his scheduled execution Tuesday for the 1989 slaying of an off-duty police officer.

Family and advocates of 39-year-old Troy Davis have long urged he deserves a new trial as seven of the nine witnesses who helped put him on death row have recanted their testimony. His supporters erupted into cheers and tears when the stay was announced at about 5:20 p.m. ET.

"This is not over yet," said Davis, who sounded upbeat and optimistic speaking to the crowd by phone. "This is the beginning of my blessing."

Also on Tuesday, Florida executed a man convicted of shooting and killing two young sisters after he raped and shot their mother.

In Georgia, protesters had arrived by the busload to protest the execution, waving signs and wearing blue shirts that proclaimed "I am Troy Davis." The Rev. Al Sharpton, who accompanied the Davis family to the protest, led the crowd in a Gospel hymn after the news was announced. [Mark Godsey]

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