Friends, advocates remember Troy Davis at memorial

By RUSS BYNUM | September 30, 2011 | 9:35 PM EDT

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Friends and supporters of Troy Davis, the convicted murderer who was executed in Georgia last week despite emotional pleas for his life, are remembering him as a gentle man who faced his execution with grace and dignity.

NAACP president Benjamin Jealous and comedian/activist Dick Gregory were among the more than 250 people who jammed the New Life Apostolic Temple in Davis' hometown of Savannah on Friday evening.

A much larger service is planned for Davis' funeral Saturday.

Friends, pastors, anti-death penalty activists and Davis' lawyer all took turns at a podium behind his closed casket, decorated with flowers.

The 42-year-old Davis was executed by lethal injection for the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis insisted he was innocent and asked forgiveness for his accusers and executioners.