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. morbus gravis

    its taken 20 years because of all the examination. they have not come up with any new evidence that says hes innocent. no alibi nothing. no new evidence at all
    29 judges have reviewed this case. a jury saw all the evidence and conviceted.
    what this is about is anti DP people makeing an issue with another agenda

    September 16, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Perhaps you need a reminder in basic civics, but the way the United States justice system works is for the plaintiff to bare the responsibility of finding the evidence of GUILT, not for the defendant to prove himself innocent.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      you need a lessson too in civics, he was found guilty, at this point hes guilty under the law and not presumed innocent. its up to him now to change that. learn grasshopper learn

      September 16, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      kevin once you are found guilty the state does not have to prove anything any more, you are now guilty, and you are not presumed innocent. can you understand that kevin??
      if you want out, the onus is now on you. to come up with new evidence. the state made their case

      September 16, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • CW

      morbus gravis, so it means nothing to you that the majority of the witnesses have recanted or contracdicted themselves. It means nothing to you that a new witness has come forward saying he didn't shoot the cop? These things mean nothing to you? I fine human being you are.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      a witness recanting himself does not mean he did not do it. 2 witness say he did. in fact have you ever heard of a case where this many witness recanted. it makes you not believe them.
      clearly 29 judges have reviewed the recants, and find them imaterial to the fact the guy killed the cop. the shell casing from the cop kill were the same from the cooper shooting which he was convicted of

      September 16, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • kurtinco

      Murder is murder no matter how you try to justify it.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh Maxus

      Not surprisingly the life hanging in the balance does not reside in a caucasian body. With the plethora of false accusations and doctored evidence against black people over the decades – the lying woman and man in MA, the lying killing mother of 5 of SC, etc etc, WHY wouldn't doubt be raised here? Then again we are talking about Georgia. This is the same state where a judge sentenced a 17 yr old black youth to jail for consensual relations with a female. I wish you well DRI.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      "They" actually have come up with new evidence. As solid as DNA evidence, when it is found that the very cops who wrote the evidence against him are suspect, then, that evidence is no longer valid. Sure the case is shakey for Davis' part, but, if it is so grounded in fact, then, let's have a do-over. The worst for society is that we find he really is guilty. The best is that we, as a people, can be intelligent enough to recognize that there is NEW evidence to demonstrate that the trial was defective; and, that we retry to find him not guilty. Better to approach St Peter at the pearly gates knowing that you were more inclined to let ten guilty men be tried by the Lord rather than having violated the commandment of "thou shalt not kill" in error even once. It's you Georgia people who are guilty right now. .... if you retry and find him guilty without any more doubt; then, you are justified in killing him. It's your soul.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacknyd

      One thing some of you are forgetting is that the state did NOT find him guilty, he was found guilty by his peers. Now it is up to the defense to prove there were errors or tainted evidence in the case to get a new trial. Under the conditions of 7 out of 9 witnesses recanting there story this places doubt on the first trial. This much doubt should grant a new trial. This is not in the prosecutions hands now.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Josh Maxus

      Marv – your comment speaks volume about your lack of worth to even waste these words commenting with. I will not waste any more on 'you'.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • HA25

      "Murder is Murder" – You need to look up the definition of Murder. Murder is killing with Malice aforethought. This is not Murder. Call it Homicide if you like but at least be an accurate bleeding heart liberal.
      To act like out of the 6 billion people on earth that some don't belong here is just naive. Killing a cop has a very high penalty for a reason – to protect those who serve and to help ensure people don't kill cops rather than be questioned or taken into custody. Do you want a society of law or of anarchy?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Mars Tom

      Morbis...
      The justice system is flawed.
      Or are you one of those that think the govt works perfectly? (Or are you one of those that realize govt does NOT work perfectly and are screaming about getting govt out of our lives and the cost of govt.?)

      The judicial system – a branch of our govt – is NOT perfect and there is no way guilt can be 100% proven accurately 100% of the time. And so... There are / have been / will be cases where the govt – on our behalf – is putting innocent people to death.
      I guess you are OK with that though.
      Are you also OK with the fact that the death penalty is costing states millions and millions of dollars to execute?
      Are you also OK with the fact that this God-like application of ultimate justice in no way has ever been proven to deter such crimes that result in the death penalty?
      (Do you know the story of the man in TX they are all up in arms about? The Willingham case. They say he started a fire in his house that killed his children. They used flawed science to determine that it was arson. Does that sound like 100% accuracy – enough to take a possibly innocent man's life – who may have already lost his children to a possibly tragic home fire???)

      Sounds to me like you support a flawed, immoral govt program.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Norm.

    Governor Parry (Perry with an "A") wants to add this to his already record 230 executions that the Tea Party loves so much.
    He'll use this potentially innocent man's murder as a campaign prop.
    This out of control mental case will NOT be our next president.
    If America just isn't ready for a two term black president, then let be Romney.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      how is he potentionaly innocent??? do you have any evidence you can bring forth that would say hes not guilty???

      September 16, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Michele

      I'm a democrat and an Obama supporter, but I'm not sure if you're winning him any votes by saying those opposed to him are only opposed based on the color of his skin.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • christmineng

      You do know that Perry is from Texas, and this guy is from Georgia right?

      I don't know if he is guilty or not. but it is a life we are talking about. Fair and just review of the evidence should be considered.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • tehMadHater

      already record 230 executions that the Tea Party loves so much

      Norm, you are an embarrassment to humanity...

      September 16, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • ThisKid

      @Morbus Gray, I guess you don't know about the "innocent until proven guilty" thing...

      September 16, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gunslinger

    Send him to meet his maker....

    September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Did he do anything to you? I thought that the cops influenced the witnesses statements. Are you ok to kill him just because he is black?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Carol

    No definite proof of murder? Why is he there? Maybe the Supreme Court needs to look at this one too.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      the jury convicted him so there was PROOF BEYOND A RESONABLE DOUBT that he was guilty. learn to undstand the justice system

      September 16, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      The proof may have AT THAT TIME been proof beyond a reasonable doubt; however, if new evidence comes up to shed doubt on the very evidence that convicted him, THEN the trial was defective. But of course Georgia people are too hell bent on hating black people. You Georgia people disgust me.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    They have answered their own question. By asking "why one should believe the recanted testimony over the original court testimony" they open the door...because the reverse is also true. And if there is ANY doubt, you should release him ( I presume a second trial is impossible due to double jeopardy). Just remember, someday it could be YOU!!!

    September 16, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      That's the thing, if the evidence is faulty, then the trial was defective: then they can retry him.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. jm999

    good. one less deadbeat on the government bankrolls.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      This guy was no deadbeat.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. WVLady63

    GREAT! All you have to do to get by with MURDERING INNOCENT PEOPLE IS HAVE BLACK SKIN!!!! All of the bleeding heart blacks who were protesting his execution obviously have never had one of their own murdered. How would one of them feel if someone murdered one of their children, their Mother or Father, their Sister or Brother. I'll bet they would sing a different tune then!!! THIS MAN SHOULD DIE! HE TOOK TWO LIVES! WHO GAVE HIM THE RIGHT TO DO THAT??????

    September 16, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Mars Tom

      And you know he is 100% guilty... How?
      The death penalty is an immoral act performed by our govt in an effort to apply supposed "ultimate justice"
      Innocent people have / are / will be put to death because of a flawed system that in no way can be 100% accurate 100% of the time.
      But I guess you're OK with that. I guess your OK with the killing of an innocent person – as long as the majority of those put to death are guilty.
      You support an immoral act.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      they know hes guilty because the shell caseings were the same from the earlier shooting he did. and the shorts he was wearing had the cops blood on them. so ya hes guilty

      September 16, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      After this trial, maybe the last cop in Georgia who is "innocent" died. The rest who trumped up the evidence (the fact that cops influenced the testimonies proves that all evidence brought before the jury is defective) ... the rest, well, not so much.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • TOdum

      Apparently you didnt hear about the little ignorant white kids in Mississippi who ran the black man over and killed him with a truck a few weeks ago...JUST BECAUSE HE WAS BLACK!!!! And do you know what that BLACK man's family did???? They requested that those little idiots NOT be put to death!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mars Tom

    So for all you folks who support the death penalty…
    Do you all think govt works perfectly? (Our judicial system is simply a branch of govt)
    Or are you one of those screaming about wanting less govt in our lives – screaming about the failures and costs of govt…
    Well here is an activity – a policy of govt that is majorly flawed – a policy that is costing states Millions of dollars – and a policy where the result of such is that innocent people can /have been / and will be put to death for crimes they did not commit.

    So if you want to yell at govt and have them to stop doing something that is wrong… Have them stop doing something that is morally wrong… Well then turn your attention toward ending the death penalty in this country.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Edwin

    Wouldn't be the first time we execute an innocent man. Those post mortem pardons are pure bullshiz.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      he was found guilty so hes not innocent, and there has never been a case where an innocent man was executed

      September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Hey Morbus, you don't read the news much do you? If not, I doubt that you have reviewed many death penalty appeal cases.....

      September 16, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Ou812

      @Morbus you're an idiot if you believe that. How about all the cases where people have spent years or decades in prison or on death row until DNA proved they were innocent? How many died before DNA technology reached a level where it could be used in criminal cases? How about all the cases where innocent people were railroaded by corrupt police & prejudiced or biased jurors? If you think that has never happened you're a complete moron... or just a troll.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. wmpaulrobbins

    If there is any possibility that this man is not guilty the system of justice must not execute until a reevaluation of the evidence is concluded. Perhaps another jury needs to decide since changes is tesimonies have occurred. A human life is precious and if a doubt should not be taken.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      its been reviewed for 20 years now. 29 judges have found nothing to say hes innocent, and the supreme court now rejects his clame. how much more review can a person get?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  11. Thor

    The persons who testified are saying that the POLICE FORCED THEM to make statements that are not true? This is a grave problem with law enforcement in Georgia. It seems that the State of Georgia Law Enforcement community is covering up BAD COPS. I have been a bad cop, I know what the signs of a cover up are. The Prosecutors Office is just as bad and can wreak a huge toll on innocent people... and they do. This is an example of tyranny at its worst. Here in America where the government is to be run by the people, COPS and PROSECUTORS are to be feared... Great job Georgia people.... I shall never spend my white, affluent, ex-cop, DOE dollars in your state ever again.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      they stated in court during his trial, that they were not coerced. his trial attorney asked them.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      And I am sure that white cops have absolutely no influence over black Georgia people on ANYTHING they say in court. I am absolutely sure that any black someone in a GEORGIA court, under the scrutiny of white GEORGIA cops, will absolutely have no misgivings whatsoever about what they are saying in that Georgia white court. Being a white ex-cop, I trust ALL of what people say in court to the end of pleasing a prosecutor or a gallery full of white witnesses. Yes, especially after now, when the witnesses know that it is much more difficult for cops to lie and get away with coverups........ I'd really like to see this man tried again.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. GaChick

    I believe the whole reason for these recantations is because Davis' family has hounded them to death for 20 years to recant. I know (yes for a fact, as I know a person very close to the McPhail family) that the family of TAD has harrassed the McPhail family to the point that the police have been called on them to remove them from the property of the McPhail's, more than once. And I agree with what someone else said. If he's so damn innocent, why isn't the family clamoring for his release, instead of just reducing his sentence to life in prison?

    September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Then all of that should come out in a re-trial. Why is the Georgia Prosecutor so scared of a retrial? If he is not guilty, then you should be more interested in finding out how in the world did the cops make this mistake, and..... how are you going to protect yourself from those cops. When cops go bad, they don't stop at just a black man. Abuse of power grows. I recognized it in myself and my brother cops. I removed myself from that career long ago. There are too many symptoms that there is a "nigg'a in the woodpile" here.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    We, as a nation, would be better off to realize that the justice system has been thrown out the window in favor of politics. If you have time, I encourage you to read the book called "The Tyranny of Good Intentions." It'll paint it in raw color from a Duke and Harvard Law Professors' perspective. Truth has slowly become the greatest casualty of our justice system. Prosecutors get off on their job and to that end – the ends justify the means, almost always.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Marv

    Blacks and muslims are guilty of something. So consider that if he didn't shoot the cop, he did something else and God is giving him his just due.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  15. vinny

    I dont know what to say about this case. It appears that plenty of eyes have reviewed it over the years and have upheld the conviction. I know we are going to have our conspiracy theorists and the usual race baiters. If this guy was innocent I would like to think it would have been overturned by now. enough time has been spent trying to determine the correct verdict here so im guessing they got it right

    September 16, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
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