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. presto668

    "On what grounds are the recantations more believable than the testimony in court? None."

    So doesn't this mean the original testimony is also suspect?

    September 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 16, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. linda

    I will pray that they will stop this execution, if it's God will he will be set free, but enough with the killing of black men. Stop being afraid of the black power. Black people wake up, it's time to know who we really are, ruler of this world, some of you black needs stop being criminals, going to jail for no reasons, stop being idiots and be played by the system. stand up ,do what's right and lead by example. Black people are the Originals people of this planet, most races are afraid of black Africans because they see the strength and the power that lies inside of us, other races see it except our own race, some of you blacks are blind and can't see who you really are.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sal

      Ma'am you just are completly wrong

      September 17, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      That made me laugh. Now get back to taking care of your 8 kids all by yourself.

      September 17, 2011 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephon

      How is she wrong?

      September 17, 2011 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Victoria

      Stephon, she's not wrong which is why they chose to mock her instead of coming up with a sound argument as to why she was. Every word she speaks is the truth. I've seen it countless times. There is power within our race of which many of us are unaware. I make it my mission to educate our young people on our ancestors (not the way white America chooses to portray us) and what greatness lies within them. Keep preaching it Linda. Those outside of us fear us because they know what power and strength lies within each and every one of us.

      September 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marylander

      This by far is the most intelligent comment so far...Lets start off with the fact that this man went all the way through the legal system and was proven guilty... the only thing left to do is treat him how he treated his victim...kill him... Its not like his existence is really important to anyone or society... and Linda what are you thinking... your comments are surely well thought out.. Nobody will take you seriously if you can't even write sentences that make sense or are even spell correctly... yes you are true most african americans have physical prowess (you might need to look that word up) but you prove once again that intelligence is lacking.... the death penalty is just.... let him fry

      September 18, 2011 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      @linda. Surely your comment was written in humor. I certainly got a good laugh from it. I mean we all know how "afraid" we all are of black Africans and their power. I guess that is why every single African nation is 3rd world or less, nonwithstanding South Africa which was colonized by the Brits. You can never underestimate the power of a spear chuncking and rock throwing. LOL

      September 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lolo

    I know people want him dead ,and I have no doubt that he is guilty but killing people is not the right answer.

    September 17, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. james smith

    electrocution go out like a man

    September 17, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Martina

    If there is a reasonable doubt then you can't put a man to death! if you do , I hope you will find a way of living with the guild of killing someone ,good luck

    September 17, 2011 at 3:18 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. melissa

    The time has come for justice. Justice for Mark and his family. Troy Davis has been tried and found guilty by his peers. He has utilized all of his appeals. As a Savannah resident, we remember MARK MACPHAIL. The man killed for protecting our community, on and off duty.
    TIME FOR JUSTICE!!!

    September 17, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Victoria

    Government-sanctioned lynching. Too bad our "black" president is too worried about saving his own hide instead of being a man and standing up for what's right.

    September 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. David

    Doesn't matter whether he's black or white. What matters is he murdered a cop. Let the injections begin!

    September 17, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jean Sartre

      A cop, a child, a woman... they all matter; nothing majestic or super special about a cop; unless, of course, you are one. Then, obviously, the sun rises and sets on your derriere...

      September 17, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • B4Real2Me

      David, how do YOU know that TROY killed a cop... were you there?!?!

      September 18, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Name*Jay

    What's with the comment of not going to jail for no reason they did something to get there execute him black or not oh I am black and I am four it that's what's wrong with us we always bring race into places it does not need to be pathetic

    September 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jean Sartre

    If the police officer's mom really thinks that killing this man is going to make her life ALL RIGHT, she is simply too far gone to be reasoned with, as are most folks who claim to be CHRISTIAN, but continue to lust after the blood of anyone convicted, rightly or wrongly, of a crime that is punishable by the possibliity of death...

    I believe that the 5th Commandment says: "Thou Shall Not Kill." [PERIOD!]

    It does NOT give you any caveats, such as you may kill if your state government says you can or it might make you feel better to kill some one who has did you wrong...

    September 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Maria

    I'm sorry for the MacPhail family's loss but can they honestly live with themselves if Troy Davis an innocent man is killed? If his excution happens can we also put the 5 board members on death row for killing? It's okay for the parole board to take someones life? So sad that in this day and age there is still such prejudice and a corrupt justice system in the deep south. How can you kill a man if there is resoanble doubt. They heard the evidence back in the day and convicted him but they can't hear the truths of today of the people who recanted their testimony. My prayers are with you Troy Davis and the Davis Family and for all the innocent people on death row, stay strong and GOD Bless.

    September 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Maria

    Makes me sick these hypocrites that say they are "PRO LIFE" yet have no problem putting someone to death!

    September 17, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      How do you feel about planned parenthood?

      September 18, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  14. melissa

    Do not speak badly about Mark Macphail's family. They have lost a son and a father. His son did not have a chance to know his father. They have been through HELL. It is time they get to move on. The court hearings are now over. It is now time for the victims family to start living!!! I'm from Sav'h and have seen the case from the start. So the reporters are not giving all the facts. Just the ones that are interesting. Now is time for JUSTICE!!!

    September 17, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. tkdwill

    "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."

    Is this guy serious? The grounds that the recantations are as believable or more are the same grounds you believe the original testimony on? How can the DA say something this stupid and have this guy on death row?

    September 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • However

      This is very true. To have said such a weak statement without any other suggestions on why the evidence against this man is falling apart. Seems to be a bit more to the whole story than what is being "leaked"...

      September 18, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
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