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Sent to death row 20 years ago as a convicted cop killer, Troy Davis was celebrated as “martyr and foot soldier” Saturday by more than 1,000 people who packed the pews at his funeral and pledged to keep fighting the death penalty.

Family, activists and supporters who spent years trying to persuade judges and Georgia prison officials that Davis was innocent were unable to prevent his execution Sept. 21. But the crowd that filled Savannah’s Jonesville Baptist Church on Saturday seemed less interested in pausing in remorse than showing a resolve to capitalize on the worldwide attention Davis’ case brought to capital punishment in the U.S.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, national president of the NAACP, brought the crowd to its feet in a chant of “I am Troy Davis” – the slogan supporters used to paint Davis as an everyman forced to face the executioner by a faulty justice system. Jealous noted that Davis professed his innocence even in his final words.

“Troy’s last words that night were he told us to keep fighting until his name is cleared in Georgia,” Jealous said. “But most important, keep fighting until the death penalty is abolished and this can never be done to anyone else.”

After four years of extraordinary appeals, every court that examined Davis’ case ultimately upheld his conviction and death sentence for the 1989 slaying of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, who was shot twice while trying to help a homeless man being attacked outside a bus station. MacPhail’s family and prosecutors say they’re still confident Davis was guilty.

article courtesy of Newsone.com

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