As news surfaced that Troy Davis' execution would proceed late Wednesday night, some of Davis' clemency supporters prayed outside the prison. Others scanned news headlines on their phones, confirming the news over and over.
Before the decision was announced, some supporters discussed criminal justice reform in a Dairy Queen across the road from the prison. Others lingered outside. Others went home, prompted by initial reports that the U.S. Supreme Court had stayed Davis' execution, rather than delayed it.
As Troy Davis' scheduled execution time approached, clemency supporters gathered outside the prison and intermittently chanted "no justice, no peace." Police in riot gear stood guard as Davis supporters gathered. Right around 7 p.m., crowds protesting Troy Davis' execution just erupted in cheers upon hearing the U.S. Supreme Court has delayed Davis' execution, which had been set for that hour.
Many people told us they'd received the news through phones or iPads. But there was confusion as far as what happened, and how much of it was true.
Never miss a local story.
Convicted in the 1989 slaying of Mark A. MacPhail, a Savannah, Ga., police officer and Columbus High graduate, Davis was scheduled to be put to death at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Jackson, Ga.
There were easily thousands of clemency supporters outside the prison around 6 p.m. Many held posters featuring Troy Davis' face and this message in red: "NAACP says stop the execution." On the back: "NAACP Says Not In My Name 9.21.11."
A drum accompanied the chanting, which also included lines like "free Troy Davis." Another recent chant: "Let Troy out." Many clemency supporters are wearing blue T-shirts with white print that says, "I Am Troy Davis."
Just hours before Troy Davis' scheduled execution time, rapper Big Boi and Davis' family appeared at a press conference urging clemency for the condemned prisoner.
"We will never give up," Davis' sister, Martina Davis-Correia, said while standing beside family members at the press conference. "Troy Davis has impacted the world...Anybody who has met Troy has come away with an imprint of him on their soul."
Georgia rapper Big Boi, known as a member of hip-hop act OutKast, spoke briefly at the press conference as well. He said he hails from Savannah, Ga., like Davis. "I'm just here to show my support...Thou shall not kill," he told a crowd of both media representatives and clemency supporters.
A large crowd has gathered outside the prison. Many tour buses filled with clemency supporters have arrived.
Political activist Al Sharpton made an appearance at the aforementioned press conference, which started shortly after 3 p.m. Earlier this afternoon, Sharpton spoke outside the prison where Davis is scheduled to be put to death today and said Davis' execution is moving forward on "flawed evidence."
When asked by a Ledger-Enquirer reporter if Davis is innocent, Sharpton said, "I feel that he was not proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and that's all you need."
Sharpton spoke around 12:15 p.m. and was joined by about 100 supporters of clemency for Davis.
"This time it's going forward on the same flawed evidence. No DNA, no gun, no physical evidence," Sharpton said of the case. He added, "This is unheard of in a democratic, civilized society."
Dozens of Davis supporters are holding vigil in a field near the prison, chanting, praying and singing. Some waved signs saying "Free Troy Davis." One man called for the community to boycott Christmas if the state goes through with the execution.
"I’m not saying I know the truth, but my personal belief is, yes, he is innocent,” said Ellen Kubica, 28, a resident of Germany who came here to support Davis. "There is so much doubt. You cannot say that everything (his conviction) was based on is still valid."
Lynn Hopkins, a Davis supporter who came from Denver, Colo., said she visited Davis in prison Tuesday morning and was impressed by his demeanor.
“His faith is just unbelievable. He’s incredibly strong and compassionate. His concern right now is for his sisters," she said over the din of other supporters. "He’s deeply concerned with how his death is going to hurt others."
“White people especially just don’t know that this can really happen in this country.," added Hopkins, who is white.
The Ledger-Enquirer has four staffers on the scene in Jackson. Follow this space for updates throughout the day.
Jim Mustian, Tim Chitwood, Mike Haskey and Sonya Sorich contributed to this report.