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. Jj

    no not drunk nor am i ignorant. just bored at work.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WOT

    May be an earthquake will open the state's eyes or some other calamity!

    September 15, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Isa

    Please give this man a mew trial. Don't kill an inocent man.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Like he did?

      September 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      Thomas, you need to check the facts, some of it's in the article...recantations AND no physical evidence at all. Seems guilt is in questions even to people who choose to either remain ignorant or deny justice for all.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • wilddog13

      he isnt innocent. i was on the jury

      September 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jj

    Ordinary people in our cities- white, black, hispanic, asian- live in fear. they put bars on their windows and double lock their doors. yet as a society we have come to tolerate this. instead of getting to the bottom of the problem, we come up with all sorts of gimmicky socialist solutions that are SUPPOSED to help prevent crime. how is that workin for ya???

    September 15, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brick

      You sling this socialist word around like its some kinda curse or something. All that means is "We, The people" decided to work together to solve a problem. Would you like to fight crime by yourself. I'm sure the Narco agents could use a fall guy? Crime is gonna happen. Its never gonna stop. As long as there is sin or bad in the world. That's our reality. Its terrible that this cop died but that doesnt mean this man killed him and we need to get to the bottom of this before we kill another man or woman who was innocent.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • avirgintomorrow

      ********ATTENTION*********

      Post Flagged. Right Wing Orwellian Newspeak Echo Chamber Language Detected.

      Please try posting again with an original thought that isn't the result of ideological mind control.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • isolate

      They live in fear and put bars on their windows because of their neighbors, not because people from the suburbs are driving by in their SUVs and attacking them with golf clubs. Let a little reality into your life– you're stifling.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bull Halsey

    If this man is guilty then he must be executed immediately. Send him up to receive Gods final judgment.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      That's the whole problem... without being sure he's guilty, how can anyone feel right about sentencing him to death?

      The reason Anthony got off was because there wasn't enough evidence, even though people believed she was guilty. In this case, the jury believed he was guilty, but there was no physical evidence. So why can Anthony walk free but this man be sentenced to death?

      September 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name*Jay

    Time the rest of the country follows suit with Texas execute him now !!!! Oh that's right he said he did not do it I forgot everyone in jail is innocent

    September 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cynthia

      Perhaps you need to actually read AND comprehend...it's more than just a possibility, but more likely fact that he was convicted with shoddy testimony (recanted) and nothing other than the recanted testimony shows he was ever involved. Stop choosing to remain ignorant, please.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. michelle ogg

    how many innocent men this year where released after dna proved innocent everyone spent 30 or more years thats our justice sys no physiacal eved period

    September 15, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MLS

      How many guilty men and women are free because of legal technicalities?

      September 15, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brick

    Funny how people on the outside can talk about executing this man. I dont know if he is innocent but there is a lot of evidence showing that he is and no evidence showing that he is guilty. All they have is the testimony of 2 people. Yet 7 of the other people have said that they were wrong. I think I would sleep better if I knew I didnt kill an innocent man. But that's just me. Maybe some of you guys wouldnt think twice but I would ask you...what if it was you or your loved one sitting there about to be executed?....crickets and wind.....Like I thought.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. danny

    This man is hardly innocent, he confessed to firing two point blank rounds into this prone police officer after he had wounded him. That does not sound like a innocent man, however the liberal elite has bought and threatened the existing jury members to the point that they would do anything to get them to leave them alone.

    September 15, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • avirgintomorrow

      ********ATTENTION*********

      Post Flagged. Right Wing Orwellian Newspeak Echo Chamber Language Detected.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Apa

      If you could provide a source for this statement, I would be very interested in reading it.

      September 19, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrisg510

    To name Jay: did you at all watch the CNN special on this man? Did you listen and the witnesses said the Georgia police pressered them to give false statement. "They (the detectives) would not leave me alone ultill I told them troy davis did the shooting"

    September 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chrisg510

    Danny, show your source for the shooting.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jjbeliever

    Solid argument. Hope ur workday goes well!

    September 15, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jj

    abortion is totally relevant. in the case of robert allen harris, he stole 2 teenagers car at a drive thru, killed them, then ate their food! one of the appeals that was made was his mother drank while he was still a fetus. heres the kicker, the ACLU was representing him!!! they dont believe we are a person in fetus form and this is the very same group that believes we are nothing as a fetus! point being, libs will try anything to get a killer back on the streets.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dwight schrute

    Give me five minutes alone with the evidence. I will have your answer

    September 15, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • isolate

      His pants will confess?

      September 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DDog

    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."

    So his logic is that, because the witnesses are contradicting their prior testimony, they are no longer credible and we should not beleive their recanting of prior testimony. Logically applied, that means we cannot beleive their initial testimony either, which was the entire bases for the conviction. I'm a lawyer and I can tell you that there's a reason this guy worked for the government and not a private law firm.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • avirgintomorrow

      Well the defense attorney must be a two a 7 year old sitting on the shoulders of another 7 year old wearing a fake mustache and a large suit.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
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