Troy Davis denied appeal

SAVANNAH — A federal judge Tuesday denied Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis’ innocence claim after a rare hearing.

The ruling against Davis sets the stage for Georgia officials to move forward with executing him for the 1989 shooting death of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer.

In June, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. heard two days of testimony from witnesses seeking to cast doubt on Davis’ conviction. The Supreme Court ordered the hearing for Davis a year ago.

Davis has been spared from execution three times as his attorneys pushed their argument that new evidence showed police ignored MacPhail’s real killer as they rushed to pin the shooting on Davis.

For more than a decade, Davis has sought to present in open court his claims of innocence, including the testimony of seven key prosecution witnesses who have recanted or contradicted their trial testimony.

Davis’ innocence claims have attracted international attention, including former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI urging that he be spared from execution. In recent years, Davis’ scheduled execution has been halted three times — on one occasion just two hours before he was to be put to death by lethal injection.

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