US appeals court halts Davis execution

ATLANTA -- A federal appeals court has halted the execution of a Georgia man accused of gunning down an off-duty police officer in 1989.

A three-judge panel from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay for Troy Davis on Friday.

Davis' supporters have called for a new trial because seven of the nine key witnesses against him have recanted their testimony, and the doubts about his guilt have won him the support of former President Jimmy Carter and other prominent advocates.

The panel ordered both sides to draft briefs to address whether Davis can be executed if he can prove his innocence. At his 1991 trial, prosecutors said Davis wore a smirk on his face as he fired the gun.

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