ATLANTA - After a Georgia inmate convicted of murdering a police officer was spared from execution a second time, the condemned man's widely publicized supporters erupted in joy. But far from television cameras, the victim's family seethed.
'My son is dead. Theirs is still alive,' said Anneliese MacPhail, the officer's mother. 'That's just the way I feel.'
Arm-in-arm with the Rev. Al Sharpton, Troy Davis' exultant family and a busload of supporters sang, wept and prayed Tuesday when they learned he was granted a temporary reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court just hours before he was to be executed.
It was the second time he had been spared and, for Davis' family, another opportunity to proclaim his innocence and press for a new trial. The execution will be delayed for at least a couple of weeks. The court is scheduled to review Davis' appeal at a private conference Monday.
Away from the spotlight was the grieving family of Mark MacPhail, who was shot and killed in 1989 while moonlighting as a security guard at a Savannah bus station. He rushed to help a homeless man who had been pistol-whipped and was shot twice when he approached Davis and two other men.
Embittered by delays and legal maneuvering, the family was devastated by Tuesday's reprieve.
'I'm furious, disgusted and disappointed,' Anneliese MacPhail said. 'I want this over with. This has been hanging over us for 19 years.'
Davis was convicted in 1991, after prosecutors at his trial said he approached McPhail with a 'smirk on his face' as he fired the gun. But seven of the nine key witnesses who helped put Davis on death row have since recanted their statements. Three other people have said one of the witnesses who testified at Davis' trial later confessed to killing the officer.
The fresh doubts, coupled with Davis' claims of innocence, have drawn support from high-profile leaders like President Jimmy Carter and South Africa Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Amnesty International has organized protests as far away as Paris, and Sharpton has helped lead rallies calling for a new trial.