After a long day of emotional goodbyes, Troy Davis knelt in his prison cell and began to pray 15 minutes before he was scheduled to die. Then, a guard spotted him doing something a bit more unexpected: He was sleeping.
The Associated Press obtained documents that provide some insight into the final hours of Troy Davis’ life and they seem to be, in the main, relatively straightforward and somewhat bland, given all of the attention that Davis’ case has received: he met with visitors, he prayed, he slept, he ate a little bit, and he spoke with his attorneys.
What the documents — or perhaps the write-up about them to which I link above — do not adequately highlight is the torturous process of waiting for hours to find out whether or not he would actually be injected full of poison that night or whether his struggle with the legal system would continue. The only hints to this effect can be found in the statement that Davis “spent the next few hours on and off the phone with his lawyer awaiting news on his fate” and that Davis, who previously proclaimed that he would fast on the day of his execution, finally “asked the guards to bring in some food” more than an hour after his execution had been scheduled to take place.
These off-hand notes about Davis’ final hours only hint at something that none of us can really comprehend particularly well: What it must feel like to await official confirmation that your government has succeeded in finding a way to kill you.