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. ME

    Half of u guy r half wits talkin out ur a$$...plain n simple answer is called reasonable doubt...kinda dumb pullin race and "the south" and cryin for the cops....police make mistake too morons....how many people have been beat to death by group of gangsters that we call police....just a matter of providing REASONABLE doubt...jus a bunch of pigs n morons saty he should die cus the cop need justice or cus he's black is the only reason its happening to hi why cus u watch a story on TV or read articles with parts of peoples statement quoted make u guys experts on the case...shut the F up with that ha half of u jus internet wangsters that need a job or a life

    September 16, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin

    Just a thought, if he's so innocent then why doesn't he allow the clothes that he was wearing to be tested for DNA. If he wasn't there and didn't shoot the cop he has nothing to worry about right? So why is he fighting so hard to keep it out of evidence? Oh I know BECAUSE HE'S GUILTY, case closed.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BBoy

    What is the price of a human life? If there is even a shred of a doubt about this man's innocence there should be a stay of execution and a new trial. Think just for a minute if you were in his shoes, knowing you are innocent, being accused of a crime you did not commit and facing death by lethal injection. All avenues MUST be exhausted! I personally do not think anyone should be executed solely based on the testimony of others without some forensic evidence. Life in prison maybe but not execution.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BBoy

      It should read "even a shred of a doubt about this man's guilt there should be a stay of execution and a new trial". I got a little emotional when typing.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • anna

      BUT is he innocent????

      September 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. nitadf

    Its easy for everyone to say kill him but if it was YOU putting the needle in and taking a human life without knowing 100% if he is guilty, it would be different. If you say it wouldn't , then you are a ruthless person with no heart. I agree 100% with the death penalty but make sure you're killing the right person.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kriss greenn

      I agree with you 100%. I'm all for the death sentance (really it should be used more, especailly for Pedo's and child molestors), but if there is some credible evidence and the witnesses change their story, then that is reason to take a second HARD look at things.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chuck McLoving

    You say, "Look at all the people that still murder! The death penalty doesn't work." I say it DOES work. NONE of the people who were given the death penalty still murder. And, Life Sentences apparently don't work, either because people still kill. I don't know if this guy did it or not. The witnesses do need to be charged because they said (either now or then) SOMETHING that was a lie. ANd, I would rather review the evidence pertaining to this case then to see how many people want the conviction thrown out.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • LTzi

      You are probably just a concerned citizen. I am a Sociology of Crime and Deviance student. Simply stating that you believe the death penalty works, doesn't make it truth. There are actually numbers from studies, concerning murder rates and states with the death penalty. There is no doubt that the death penalty DOES NOT deter crime. One factor of that, is if the system is convicting and sentencing to death innocent people, yet the guilty remain free, what crime have we ended if the wrong person is put to death? This is bigger than what your inner sadist desire to see.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scottie

      The death penalty IS a deterrent. Dead people CANNOT kill other people.

      Case closed!

      September 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. edna teran trevino

    The said part about all you people don't see past all the bull any person smart enough can create a crime scene put DNA where they want it put prints on anything,create whatever you want, the is more than likely innocent, you have so many bigots in the world its so said, but that's life as long as it don't affect me yah right get a life republicans democrats whatever so foolish this guy that guy cause I have better grammar than the other person so childish, get on the street one day where it means nothing can u please help me, idiots! Think it will never happen to u or your kids cars break down stuff happens in the world these r the people u will be asking for help either u or somebody u care about these r the people that will defend u where n school but now all grown up u just forget all the stuff u went through, just grow up to be hypocrites, hope this gets posted cause I'm sure it applies to a lot of people

    September 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Whoops!

    Sorry, Chuck, I filled the little form thing out wrong and accidently made a post under your name. Sorry.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. observer

    This thing should be stopped, and death penalty should be reigned in big time- if not completely abolished. Remember the judge in PA, that sent thousands of young teenages to long prison sentences for petty crimes, like having a joint- and it turns out he was getting kickbacks from the PA private prison system??? Do you really think- he is the only one? I don't. How about the cops, lawyers etc..... No human has the right to play god- and wear a robe doesn't makea difference- we should show how wrong taking a life is – by first not engaging in the act, when the subject is caged and helpless- regardless of what bad they had done in the past.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandra

      America cannot afford to keep people in prison for life. Also, we don't even keep dogs in the pound that long. Eventually, you need to put them out of their misery. Either cut back on the costs of prison, and make it REALLY a deterrent (basic food, no tv, weights, hard labor, etc) or start editing. If someone can NEVER, EVER, EVER get out of prison, then what is the point? So, their family gets to visit? What about the people they ruined getting life sentences? It is suppose to be a PUNISHMENT, not a TIME-OUT.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. edna teran trevino

    Thank you for your time

    September 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. edna teran trevino

    Excuse the grammar reading a lot of these comments was a little upset a how people r such bigots now, still hasn't changed now instead of wearing hoods and they wear suits so funny

    September 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gloria Pettis

    I am pleading with you and praying to God, that you will allow Troy Davis a reprieve. Being a honest American, I can't say this man is guilty to the degree, that the judicial system of the state of Georgia, USA. should put Troy Davis to death, there is too much evidence showing Mr. Davis should not be executed. There are a lot of people who have no problem, putting a man to death. I have a serious problem with this execution and I ask you, what will you be judged for when JUDGEMENT DAY ARRIVES!!!

    September 16, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ivan cohen

    The District Attorneys case was flawed from the onset. Yet he persisted in pushing it. There was no smoking gun(no pun intended) yeah that's right the murder weapon never found. Oh yeah, the convicted man must have thrown it in the Savannah River. Uh huh they never dragged the river to find it. The other man Sylvester Coles had a weapon that night. Not known whether he pawned the gun or threw it away. No information was ever released to say if Mr. Coles weapon was test fired. DDog put it quite well when the witnesses were of value to the prosecution their testimony was valid, when some contended they were intimidated and recanted now they are not believable. The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Justen beiber

    Kill him. U kill someone, u deserve to die. In fact any USA solider who killed someone also needs to die. I may join the military just to have the right to kill people. That'll be way cool. Also I am willing to die to kill a few bad guys.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  14. publicus1776

    What we always lose sight of here is punishing the guilty party. If he is innocent and we execute him, we have two injustices: his death and the continuing freedom of the guilty party. His execution more or less closes the book and almost no one will be hunting for guilty party. The prosecution won't because they will be embarrassed. The family won't because they feel they got the right guy. These cases are rightly about finding and punishing the guilty party. We can't blame the jury system - in most cases they do the right thing. We can blame the rest of the system for refusing to look for what really happened instead of just closing another case at any cost.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • LTzi

      Truth. This is mainly what it's all about.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gloria Pettis

    Judgement day is not here for us yet, but. WHO WILL JUDGE YOU!!!! ARE YOU GUILTY, ALTHOUGH YOU KNOW YOU ARE NOT? OOPS.TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 16, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
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