September 15th, 2011
03:21 PM ET

663,000 names on petition protesting Troy Davis' execution

Supporters of convicted cop killer Troy Davis say time is running out.

Unless something dramatic happens, Davis will die by lethal injection next week for the 1989 murder of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.

Davis, 42, is set to be executed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and since his 1991 conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. No physical evidence was presented linking Davis to the killing of the policeman.

Many people fighting for Davis' life are feeling the pressure.

"We honor the life of Officer MacPhail," said Edward DuBose, Georgia state conference president of the NAACP, but he added, "You cannot right a wrong by offering up Troy Davis, who we believe is not the person responsible."

The NAACP joins several groups advocating for Davis, who also counts former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and singer Harry Belafonte among his defenders.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network plans to hold a candlelight vigil Friday for Davis at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Sharpton will speak at the rally at 7 p.m. ET.

Supporters Thursday delivered a massive petition containing more than 663,000 signatures in support of clemency for Davis.

They're worried that won't be enough, as all legal appeals have been exhausted and only the state Pardon and Parole Board can call off Wednesday's execution. The board denied clemency in 2008.

"In some ways, the board has an opportunity to look at this case afresh," said Laura Moye with Amnesty International USA, which has long denounced Davis' conviction.

A new witness who testified during a 2010 evidentiary hearing said he saw another person shoot MacPhail. Supporters hope that fact will be considered by the parole board.

"So why is it that we are willing to believe what they said in 1991, but are not willing to believe what they have to say today," Moye said. "Most of (the witnesses) have recanted or contradicted their testimony and additional testimony has come forward to implicate this alternative suspect."

MacPhail's family has steadfastly asserted that Davis was the killer, and the district attorney who prosecuted Davis has maintained his position that Davis is guilty. He does not have much confidence in witness recantations.

"I'm just disappointed so many people have been led to believe nobody has paid attention to these recantations. It is simply not the case," former Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton once told CNN affiliate WTOC. "On what grounds are the recantations more believable than the testimony in court? None."

Reviewing Davis' claims of innocence last year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia found that Davis "vastly overstates the value of his evidence of innocence."

"Some of the evidence is not credible and would be disregarded by a reasonable juror," Judge William T. Moore wrote in a 172-page opinion. "Other evidence that Mr. Davis brought forward is too general to provide anything more than smoke and mirrors," the court found.

soundoff (795 Responses)
  1. The_Mick

    Having served on two criminal trial juries -including foreman on one- where we convicted men who were sentenced to life without chance of parole and 35 years based on our convictions, I can vouch for the fact that the information we get from the media about trials, from Amanda Knox to this, barely scratches the surface and tends to ignore anything that's not sensationalistic. So I would be the last person to read this article and then believe I could come to a reasonable decision about whether or not this man should or should not be executed.

    September 16, 2011 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Madeintheusa

      Thats why I say let the sentance be carried out.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  2. JackT

    If Al Sharpton is FOR something, anything, then automatically I am against it. He is the number one Racist in the country, along with Jesse Jackson.

    September 16, 2011 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • SciGuy

      I have to admit that was my first reaction. But it is not rational. Even the broken clock is right twice a day (but the probability that it is right is zero).

      September 16, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • pete w

      well said, if sharpton is involved there is a more than likely chance the guy is guity, if the victim was anyone other than a cop he wouldnt be involved, there are lots of innocent blacks who truely are innocent, but they dont fit his political racism.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
    • American

      What people here don't know:

      1.) Do you "not" understand that blacks are treated different than whites by cops in general, expecially if we fit the physical profile of a cops worst nightmare?

      2.) Are you black?

      3.) Why are young black men forced to fit a "mold" in a society we are apart of?

      4.) This is not America without the black culture.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. Omni

    He will walk. 7 witnesses have come forward and said that the cops threaten them and took false statements. There is zero physical evidence and if they didn't give the shoot to kill order he would have never turned himself in. I'm so glad that I left the south.

    September 16, 2011 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mo Brown

      OMNI,
      YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY AN IDIOT....SORRY BUT HE IS GUILTY AND THE JURY DETERMINED THAT BY HIS ULTIMATE CONVICTION......GET REAL.......WHY HAVE A COURT SYSTEM IF LIBS KEEP DISREGARDING THE EVIDENCE IN THIS TRIAL, NOT TESTIMONY GIVEN YEARS LATER BY PEOPLE WHO PROBABLY ARE AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY AND I WOULD BE MY OWN LIFE THAT MOST OF THESE RECANTATION ARE FROM PEOPLE WHO.....LETS SEE....MIGHT BE THE SAME RACE?...............JUST A THOUGHT..........EYE FOR AN EYE MY GOOD MAN........FOR YOU LIBS....THATS BIBLICAL OLD TESTAMENT...............

      September 16, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • LibsAlwaysLie

      Yea and I got twenty thousand that say your messiah was born in Kenya that doesn't mean it was so......

      September 16, 2011 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. ruby gumshoe

    Notice how that smoked irishman, al sharpeton, shows up wherever he can get a headline?!

    September 16, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Rudedog

      Or trying to stop a modern day lynching.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. Neo

    JackT should your personal dislike for Al Sharpton prevent you from seeing reason why the case should be reviewed. The only reason why he was convicted was that witness said the saw him shoot the cop. There was no further physical evidence linking him with the case. This damning testimonies have now been recounted, so what should we do as reasonable people?, which i believe you are too. Al Sharpton is not the accused here.

    September 16, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan Thompson

      ""your personal dislike for Al Sharpton prevent you from seeing reason""

      Two words, Neo – Tawana Brawley.

      If that doesn't ring a bell, perhaps "Crystal Mangum" will.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Newhart

      Neo, unless you haven't been paying attention, the case has been reviewed, over and over and over. The conviction was upheld, hence Davis's scheduled execution. He was tried, convicted, conviction upheld, now what else does it take for justice to be served.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:20 am | Report abuse |
  6. John

    If all the evidence put him at the center of the charges against him and a jury found him guilty and a review of all the evidence, including that entered by the defense, then he's guilty. They don't just pluck you off of the street and charge you with murdering a police officer. This is all taking place in Texas as well and I'm getting damn sick and tired of death row inmates and their attorneys contriving efforts to prevent what has been deemed justice in respect for the victims these thugs have murdered in cold blood. Reverend Al Sharpton had better get ready to blow out all those vigil candles because come next week, they'll be loading this guy into a cheap casket and dropping it into the ground with prayers of good riddance.

    September 16, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
    • D41

      John, the point is that they can and have plucked people off the street and charge you with murder. And they can mainpulate enough "witnesses" to make it stick. It may or may not be the case for this guy, but don't kid yourself and think it cant happen particularly in Georgia to a black man.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Rudedog

      Count yourself lucky, you haven't a CLUE how cops treat blacks.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  7. MIKE

    I never see a white person on death row that gets an appeal why?

    September 16, 2011 at 7:20 am | Report abuse |
    • SciGuy

      Oh, I don't know, could it be that most men who get sent to death row are black?

      September 16, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. J.T.M.

    After being the forman on a jury that sent a man to death row, I will say this. I rendered my decision on the facts that were presented to me at the time of trial. If further information is found at a later date then it should be reviewed with the utmost care.

    September 16, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. grimreaper

    capital punishment means that those without the capital get the punishment...

    September 16, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jason

    He just looks guilty ... JUICE HIM!

    September 16, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      You are an idiot, you act and look like one, even though we don't have a picture of you.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. poetrynearth

    All he is asking is for them to interview the witnesses and to find if the man who they said shot the officer is the right man. Once they execute Troy Davis they CANNOT take it back. If he is guilty he is. I would rather be sure. If 7 of 9 witnesses have recanted saying they were coerced, along with Troy at the time of the original trial, then I would want to know the truth now rather than later when it's too late. There have been cases when someone has been known to be put to death and been found innocent of a crime later. This would look bad for the state of Georgia and the prosecution. What's the worse for them to happen? They would have to wait a while? Their complete refusal to even consider that any mistakes were made seems strange. And yes, whites do get appeals on death row as well as blacks. This is just my own opinion. Troy has stated this for many years while he has been on death row, and its nothing new. I am not a member of his family, nor am I connected to this case. I just read about it everytime it comes up. I don't want to see him out of prison if he is guilty, just want them to all be completely sure if that many people have come forward.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. hypocrisy

    This is the 2nd scheduled execution of black men that is trying to be stopped recently (other is Duane Buck).....TALK ABOUT RACISM!!! If these men were white, they'd be worm food by now. Too bad whites aren't allow the equivalent opportunities of having the NAACP, Al Sharpton (no rev. in my book), civil liberties union, etc. to act on their behalf. Guess the victims families can just deal with knowing their family members killers may walk free in the near future.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. LibsAlwaysLie

    Liberal democrats love cop killers and hate law abiding tax paying tax protesters go figure? Well considerig that 98% of our violent convicted criminals are liberals I think I understand why they think that way.....

    September 16, 2011 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  14. Getreal2011

    I have to say that every time I read a story like this about blacks trying to get other blacks set free for a crime they committed or a story about racism, flash mobs, black on white violence......... I hear more whites voting for anyone but Obama in 2012 as more and more are figuring out that they have been seeing his best behavior now because he wants to get re-elected. God forbid that he is, I predict Mr. Obama would have no reason to play nice and we would see the real Obama the 2nd term. In which case, whites should assume grab their ankles and kiss this butts good bye.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Getreal2012

    I have to say, every time I read a story like this about blacks trying to get other blacks set free for a crime they committed or a story about racism, flash mobs, black on white violence......... I hear more whites voting for anyone but Obama in 2012 as more and more are figuring out that they have been seeing his best behavior now because he wants to get re-elected. God forbid that he is, I predict Mr. Obama would have no reason to play nice and we would see the real Obama the 2nd term. In which case, whites should assume grab their ankles and kiss this butts good bye.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
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