ATLANTA – The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Monday granted a stay of execution for up to 90 days for a man convicted of killing a Savannah police officer in 1989.
Troy Davis had faced a lethal injection tomorrow before the decision by the board after less than an hour of deliberation.
The stay means the execution will be on hold while the board weighs the evidence presented as part of the 38-year-old Davis' request for clemency.
Earlier today, lawyers for Davis spent more than five hours pleading with the board to grant a reprieve to their client.
Prosecutors were given a chance during the closed-door hearing to rebut the request for clemency for Davis, who was convicted of the August 1989 murder of Officer Mark MacPhail.
The board's options included commuting Davis' death sentence to life in prison or granting a stay of his execution while it considers the issues.
Among those who argued for clemency for Davis during Monday's parole board hearing were friends, family and U.S. Representative John Lewis, an Atlanta Democrat and civil rights icon.
Davis's lawyer said five witnesses who testified at trial spoke to the board on his behalf.
Among those present for the state at the parole board's offices were the victim's widow and mother and the district attorney for Chatham County. They have argued that Davis received a fair trial and has had plenty of appeals, all of which have failed.
Davis lawyer Jason Ewart said after the board's decision that it took off some pressure, and they can present the rest of their innocence case.
But the officer's widow, Joan MacPhail, said that she was disappointed by the decision. She said it sets a precedent for criminals that it is all right to kill a police officer and get away with it.