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Page last updated at 19:50 GMT, Friday, 24 October 2008 20:50 UK

Death row man handed new reprieve

Troy Davis (undated picture released by the Georgia Department of Corrections)
Troy Davis denies murdering Mark MacPhail

A US court has given a last-minute stay of execution to a Georgia man who was due to be put to death for the killing of an off-duty police officer.

Troy Davis, 40, was convicted in 1991 of killing a policeman in Georgia two years earlier.

The US Supreme Court has previously rejected a final appeal against the death sentence by Davis.

His sister Martina Correia said she was "ecstatic" and that movement for her brother was "building and building".

"This is going to crumble the justice system in Georgia if they don't do the right thing," she said, according to the AP news agency.

Papal appeal

Davis was scheduled to be executed in three days, on 27 October, but the three-judge panel ordered defence lawyers and prosecutors to examine whether he could meet "stringent requirements" to pursue the next round of appeals.

Davis has been granted clemency twice before, once less than two hours before he was due to be executed.

Davis has admitted being present at the scene of the killing of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savannah, Georgia, in 1989, but always denied he was the murderer.

At his trial, nine witnesses gave evidence that he was the man who shot MacPhail, but most of the prosecution's witnesses have since recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Davis's lawyers also say post-trial information has emerged implicating another man as the gunman.

Pope Benedict XVI and former US President Jimmy Carter are among those who have appealed on his behalf.


SEE ALSO
US court rejects death row appeal
14 Oct 08 |  Americas
US court halts Georgia execution
23 Sep 08 |  Americas
US convict gets stay of execution
17 Jul 07 |  Americas
Georgia death row inmate executed
07 May 08 |  Americas
US court backs lethal injection
16 Apr 08 |  Americas

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