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. LibsAlwaysLie

    Hey liberals wish to do with this guy like they did for mummia the other cop killer that was ABSOLUTELY guilty. Of course while they are preaching hang tea party protesters........gee liberals are not hypocrits......

    September 16, 2011 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Only a Sith deals in absolutes...

      Right here we have a god example of a huge problem in our country today... "LibsAlwaysLie." Why do people have to resort to generalizations and assumptions of those with differing viewpoints? Answer: Because it is easier to set up a straw man and knock him down than to actually try to have a discussion and come to some kind of middle ground? This country wil fail, without doubt, as long as we let ourselves see our fellow countrymen as the enemy. Don't fall for what the political parties feed you. I don't believe that Liberals, Conservatives, Democrats or Republicans hate this country or want to see its demise. I do believe that the leaders of the political parties would rather have you believe these things are true than lose power, though. Screw the parties.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Only a Sith deals in absolutes...

      sorry, good, not "god". my typo

      September 16, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Norm.

      Right there is your problem inbred.
      The other cop was ABSOLUTELY guilty.
      No one is sure about this guy but you animal Teahadist American homegrown terrorists want to kill him anyway.
      Is it the color of his skin that scares you so much?
      Pathetic garbage.....

      September 16, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Norm your a tool. Got nothing to do with the teaparty. Go back to your cave worm.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  2. GetrealCNN

    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 their you know what good bye.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
    • get real

      that has nothing to do with this, and even if it did, that's not good enough for a lot of americans. sorry. leaders need to be in their "best behavior" from day 1, not after re-election.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • dunya

      Ignorant Fool.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. get real

    obviously hell is going to break loose if they go through with the lethal injection. I say put it off for 6 months and review the evidence.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Woulditbefunny

      What happens when you let a 2 year old get their way every time they throw a screaming fit ? They scream more and more until finally to have to put an end to it. Its time for this country to stop this 2 year old from screaming every time they don't get their way. Its been long over due.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
    • dunya

      What happens when you kill and innocent man? But don't go killin' no fetuses!

      September 16, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mort Coleman

    In america we believe that it is better for the guilty to go free than to punish an innocent man. It seems that credible evidence has been presented which shows a different offender. I would err on the side of life on this one.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sagebrush Shorty

    If this was a white guy you would not hear a single word from the NAACP or that racist clown Al Sharpton.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Tea Party Express

      You'd hear a couple words from them... like "GET A ROPE"

      September 16, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      If this was a white guy, he probably wouldn't be on death row. They would have argued that he was a "Sovereign Citizen" defending himself against Jackbooted Government Nazis and would now be enjoying Life in Prison and be a member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brittani

    663,000 people believe he didn't do it. Why isn't the government listening to the people? Suprise, suprise.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • yannaes

      663,000, obviously more, voted for Obama, and they are wrong. Why do you think that because 663,000 speak out means they are right?

      September 16, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Sargent

      Because the majority's opinion isn't always the correct one. As I've stated in other comments on CNN, it wasn't long ago that the majority of Americans felt that blacks and women didn't have equal rights. That didn't make it any less right than it does today. In saying that, I don't know if this guy is guilty or not... if he's not, well I feel sorry for him... but if he is... I really have no opnioin. Let the legal system handle it. He was obviously in a situation where he could be considered a suspect. Don't put yourself in those kinds of situations.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Sargent

      @yannes Yeah and a lot more people voted for Bush Jr. and he left the current president with a huge mess to clean up and the country uses Obama as the scape goat for its problems. The problem with Obama is the American People. they raised him to superstar and convinced themselves he could fix everything and when he couldnt do it fast enough, everyone turned on him. The good ol' american way. Bunch of stupid rednecks and idiots. I'm glad i no longer live in the US. Obama is a great president. Given time he could really change things. Everything takes time.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • P.Ha

      Only 663,000 people believe he didn't do it but the rest of America think he did it....

      September 16, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sharp

    There seems to be a reasonable doubt that he did it. Better not to execute him. It's easy to commute the sentence to life imprisonment & sort things out then.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. James

    I'm all about not killing the wrong guy.....but you lost me at NAACP and Al Sharpton. Some people and organizations hamper a cause just by including themselves.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. deadmanwalking47

    the governor has to stop this case and let fresh eyes take a look at it.i'm for carrying out sentences,but when 7 out of 9 people recant their stories,it needs to be checked in the intrests of justice!

    September 16, 2011 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. d

    What did the family of Davis buy out the jurors to say another thing now? Has anyone thought of that scenario? Its funny how after all these years they are just now saying its someone else, if you ask me they were bought to start protesting to save Davis. You got to remember people, in this country greed rules, and innocent people get left for slaughter.... For instance the cop.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Itstime

    Someone posted, "if they follow through with the injection, they're will be hell to pay......".

    What happens when you let a 2 year old get their way every time they throw a screaming fit ? They scream more and more until finally to have to put an end to it. Its time for this country to stop this 2 year old from screaming every time they don't get their way. Problem is, each time you give into a screaming 2 year old, it gets harder to stop the trend. Regardless, this country needs to roll up its sleaves and not give in to this screaming 2 year old. Its been long over due.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. Travis

    nice biased article... it's pretty obvious in your opening paragraph you support a convicted cop killer. I hardly see how a witness recanting 20 years later is at all relevant – of course they don't remember what they saw 10, 15, 20 years ago anymore.... but they were sure they remembered on the day of the trial

    September 16, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. A+

    Another posted wrote, "if they follow through with the injection, they're will be hell to pay......".

    What happens when you let a 2 year old get their way every time they throw a screaming fit ? They scream more and more until finally to have to put an end to it. Its time for this country to stop this 2 year old from screaming every time they don't get their way. Problem is, each time you give into a screaming 2 year old, it gets harder to stop the trend. Regardless, this country needs to roll up its sleaves and not give in to this screaming 2 year old. Its been long over due.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Calypso

      Stop re-posting your moronic comments under different names. You've got serious issues if you're comparing taking someone's life with putting a 2 year old in time-out.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. jeff

    The cops got to get somebody, can't go back now and admit a mistake.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. Retspool

    He's been proven guilty in court. Just cause casey anthony got away with it don't mean that he'll get the same treatment. After all he's black

    September 16, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
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