Friday, December 2, 2011

NAACP: Troy Davis' sister has died

Martina Davis-Correia, the sister of late cause celebre death row inmate Troy Davis, has died, NAACP senior communications associate Derek Turner confirmed.

By Jessica McGowan, Getty Images
Davis-Correia battled cancer, but helped take her brother's case around the globe, maintaining there was too much doubt in the details of his murder conviction to allow for his execution. Davis died by lethal injection on Sept. 21 at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Ga. Between hospitalizations as she fought her disease, Davis-Correia addressed groups and took part in rallies globally to draw attention to the case.

Davis, 42 when he died, had been convicted in 1991 of the 1989 shooting death of Savannah, Ga., police officer Mark MacPhail. But Davis-Correia and another sister of Davis', Kimberly Davis, worked with the NAACP and Amnesty International in maintaining to people worldwide that several witnesses in Davis' murder trial had recanted testimony.

The Davises' mother, Virginia Davis, died a few months before the execution.

By Stephen Morton, AP
Martina Davis-Correia was 42 and had been diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, according to WSAV television.

Robert Nave, a death penalty opponent who long worked with the Davis family in attempting to stay Troy Davis' execution, wrote on Kimberly Davis' Facebook page that Davis-Correia died earlier in the evening, and in an e-mail said she passed away at 5:45 p.m. ET. Nave, state and regional death penalty abolition coordinator for Amnesty International in Connecticut and the northeastern USA, said it was all right for On Deadline to publish his note.

"Although cancer took her body, her beautiful spirit has touched me and the world in ways I never knew possible. I will celebrate her life, although through my tears, as we all will miss her so dearly," Nave wrote.

By Jenni Girtman, AP
Amnesty International issued a statement Thursday night hailing Martina-Correia as a "Hero of the Human Rights Movement."

"Our hearts are breaking over the loss of this extraordinary woman," Amnesty International CEO Curt Goering wrote. "She fought to save her brother's life with courage, strength and determination, every step of the way. She was a powerful example of how one person can make a difference as she led the fight for justice for Troy Davis, even as she endured her own decade-long battle with cancer. And despite the terrible blow of his execution, she remained brave and defiant to the core of her being, stating her conviction that one day his death would be the catalyst for ending the death penalty."

MacPhail's family members maintained that the dragging out of the case for so many years forced them to continually relive their relative's death. They have said that they stand by Davis' original conviction.

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