SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Troy Davis was convicted of murdering a Savannah police officer nearly 20 years ago. He is still waiting to find out if he will be put to death for his crime. While the Davis family waits on his final appeal to the nation's high court, the family of the man he murdered waits to see what happens too.
Today Mark MacPhail's family remembered him at the Police Memorial Day service as a protector of this community who paid the ultimate price. MacPhail's sister-in-law, Joyce Buvee, placed a single red rose in front of the police memorial in his honor. "It's very important to us to remember him because he paid that ultimate sacrifice for me, for him for you," she said.
Every year the community pays tribute to all the officers from Chatham County who died in the line of duty. MacPhail's family has been coming to this memorial every year since he was killed in 1989. But this year they said, has been one of hardest.
MacPhail was shot in the head working off-duty at a Burger King on Oglethorpe Avenue. Last July, Davis was supposed to be executed for that crime. But Davis has so far effectively delayed his date with death.
"Essentially this campaign has been an attack on the death penalty using this tragic case unfairly as the focal point," said chief assistant district attorney David Lock. He spoke out at the memorial about the Davis murder case, a case he has prosecuted since day one.
Lock dismissed claims of coercing and intimidating witnesses. "The investigation was handled in a very professional manner and I thought it needed to be said," he said.
MacPhail's family was surprised Lock talked today about the case. They've hardly said a word publicly, hoping justice would prevail. "He summed it all up so well," said Buvee. "He did a great job and I want to thank him and I know my family would thank him as well."
And they want to thank the community for not forgetting about officer Mark MacPhail. "Its appreciated, very much so appreciated to know the support is there," Buvee said.
Support she said for not just the fallen, but for all that wear a badge.
The US Supreme Court has less than three months to consider the case against Troy Davis. If they don't take it up or reject it, then a Chatham County judge will set a new execution date.