Martina Davis-Correia, sister of Troy Davis, dies
Martina Davis-Correia, sister of executed death row inmate Troy Davis, died Thursday evening at Candler Hospital after battling cancer for more than a decade. She was 44.
“I’ve thought for a long time that Martina’s fight for Troy is what kept her alive, and she must have been very tired,” Ledra Sullivan-Russell, a close family friend, said Thursday night. “She was the most extraordinary woman I’ve ever known.”
For 22 years, Davis-Correia led a crusade to stop her brother’s execution that gained thousands of supporters across the globe, including Pope Benedict XVI, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter and former FBI Director William Sessions. Despite failing health, she continued to fight against the death penalty after her brother’s Sept. 21 execution.
Troy Davis, 42, died by lethal injection for the 1989 murder of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. MacPhail, 27, was rushing to the aid of a homeless man who was being beaten when he was shot to death in the parking lot of a Greyhound Bus station/Burger King at the corner of Oglethorpe Avenue and Fahm Street.
Davis’ execution was stayed three times as his lawyers filed appeals. Several witnesses changed their testimony and his supporters insisted that there was too much doubt in the case for Davis to be executed. Davis’ death has fueled the debate over the reliability of eyewitness testimony.
Davis-Correia served as chairwoman of the steering committee for Amnesty International USA’s work to abolish the death penalty and received the Georgia Civil Liberties Award from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Frederick Douglas Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights.
“Our hearts are breaking over the loss of this extraordinary woman,” Curt Goering, chief operating officer of Amnesty International USA, said in an emailed statement. “She fought to save her brother’s life with courage, strength and determination, every step of the way… She was a tenacious fighter, a graceful inspiration to activists everywhere, and a true hero of the movement for human rights.”
Davis-Correia died at 6:30 p.m. She leaves behind a 17-year-old son, Antone De’Juan Davis-Correia, brother Lester Davis, and sisters Kimberly and Ebony Davis. Virginia Davis, Troy Davis’ mother who also fought against his execution, died in April at the age of 65.
Davis-Correia spent more than 10 years rearing her son as a single mother while fighting to stop her brother’s execution and fighting cancer.
A former Army flight nurse who served in the Gulf War, Davis-Correia was diagnosed with liver and metastatic breast cancer in March 2001.
For more on the Troy Davis case, visit savannahnow.com/troydavis.
JUSTICE FOR TROY DAVIS IS ALL SHE EVER ASKED FOR AND SHOULD BE WHAT WE STILL WORK FOR TODAY