Death-row inmate Troy Davis denied clemency
September 20th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Death-row inmate Troy Davis denied clemency

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for death-row inmate Troy Davis.

Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.

Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at a state prison in Jackson, Georgia.

"Monday September 19, 2011, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles met to consider a clemency request from attorneys representing condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis. After considering the request, the Board has voted to deny clemency," the board said in a statement Tuesday morning.

The five-member parole board votes in a secret ballot.

Davis has gained international support for his long-standing claim that he did not kill MacPhail. International figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, and former President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte, and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated.

He has been scheduled to die three times before, most recently in October 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay two hours before he was to be executed.

Since Davis' conviction in 1991, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. There also have been questions about the physical evidence - and, according to some, the lack thereof - linking Davis to the killing.

Amnesty International reacted angrily to the clemency denial on Tuesday.

"It is unconscionable that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis. Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice," Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday.

"Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system," the statement said.

But the victim's mother, Anne MacPhail, said she's satisfied that Davis will be executed.

"Well, justice is done, that's the way we look at it. That's what we wanted," the mother told CNN. "I am very convinced that he is guilty."

She said she would not attend Davis' execution but family members would be there.

Anne MacPhail said she has not forgiven the convicted of killing her son.

"Not yet, maybe sometime," she said.

The NAACP and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty had joined Amnesty International in organizing support for Davis, setting up about 300 rallies, vigils and events worldwide in the past week or so. In addition, they said that more than 1 million people have signed a petition in support of Davis' bid to be exonerated.

In a 2008 statement, then-Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton described how Davis was at a pool party in Savannah when he shot another man, Michael Cooper, wounding him in the face. Davis was then driven to a nearby convenience store, where he pistol-whipped a homeless man, Larry Young, who'd just bought a beer.

Soon thereafter, prosecutors said, MacPhail - who was working in uniform, off-duty, at a nearby bus station and restaurant - arrived. It was then, the jury determined, that Davis shot the officer three times, including once in the face as he stood over him.

Davis' lawyers, in a federal court filing, insisted that there is "no physical evidence linking" Davis to MacPhail's murder. They point, too, to "the unremarkable conclusion" of a ballistics expert who testified that he could not find definitively that the bullets that wounded Cooper and killed MacPhail were the same.

Georgia's attorney general, in an online statement, claimed that the expert said the bullets came from the same gun type and noted that casings at the pool party shooting matched - thus came from the same firearm as - those found at MacPhail's murder scene.

Two decades ago, a jury convicted Davis on two counts of aggravated assault and one each of possessing a firearm during a crime, obstructing a law enforcement officer and murder. The latter charge led, soon thereafter, to his death sentence.

While 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 parole board denied had denied Davis clemency once before. The board has never changed its mind on any case in the past 33 years.

Read more CNN coverage on the Troy Davis case
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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (2,336 Responses)
  1. alfonso moore

    we for get some times that god shall do the judging not man. Remeber that revenge is the devils work.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. infonomics

    Does the GBI Have DNA Evidence From The Bloody Black Shorts?

    From Savannah . com , June 22, 2010

    "After months of wrangling over evidence and legal issues, attorneys for the state's attorney general's office last week asked permission to submit Georgia Bureau of Investigation reports concerning "blood examination on pair of black shorts recovered from (Davis') mother's home on Aug. 19, 1989."

    They also asked to submit a report of DNA typing of the item.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • infonomics

      My apologies, the web address is savannahnow . com / troy-davis / 2010-06-22 / bloodied-shorts-among-davis-hearing-evidence. Of course, remove the spaces.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. LastLiberalRepublican

    This story does make me wonder why there is a need for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, given its proud history of never changing its mind in 33 years. Is it located in Rubber Stamp, GA?

    I always gave a lot of credit to the recent governor of Illinois who up-ended the Death Row business by giving clemency to all its occupants.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      While our political beliefs maybe on opposite ends of the spectrum, this has to be one of the best observations I've read on this topic. Good post!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. janeth ibarra

    Another judicial system fail.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. John Wright

    The appeals groups lost me big time when the Catholic pope got involved saying he was innocent also.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • jowl

      Huh? The pope routinely denounces the death penalty & issues statements against all our executions in the US before they happen.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. CAD

    Amen! Well put Psyclops!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. BLB

    What do you expect from a 2 bit place? Answer: 2 bit justice! You wouldn't catch me setting foot in that hell part of Dodge.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Theresa

    Thank you.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. Palin 2012

    Interesting. We all know when a cop is killed someone has to pay period one person in some peoples mind is just as good as another. This is sad.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chi Chi

    I think they are only pushing the issue so much because it was a police officer. I do not understand why the government acts like the lives of officers are any more important than the lives of the citizens. I am sure that if it would have been some regular person that was killed, it would not be this much of an uproar for the death penalty.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  11. BLB

    And Mr. Wright, your derrogative comments about Benedict XVI are case on point as to why I would not want to live in the same part of this country with you.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. cruelhonesty

    I love NP's post, "another Georgia lynching"...Can black people really come to grips that "their people/their race" can commit a crime? I am so sick and tired of black people using their all famous "card" to get by.

    I bet you also dont think you should have to take care of yourself either....you're probably standing in line right now in the welfare line on your iphone picking up another government funded check.

    To be honest, black people are the ones continuing racism...its not the white people anymore..BLAME OPRAH...get off your rump and start earning a paycheck and stop forcing our country to continue being your cash cow.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      "black people are the ones continuing racism..."

      After a racist post like yours, it's absolutely unbelievable that you could make that claim.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • jowl

      Nobody has to stand in line anymore. That's the problem.

      Getting taxpayers to fund your life is easier than buying a gun.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • cruelhonesty

      my racist post? Kind of hard to be a racist comment when it is supported by facts...Blacks are the OVERWELMING population living on welfare, the OVERWELMING population in our prison systems and the OVERWELMING population committing crimes. How are facts racist?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Realtalker1

    Unbelievable. Unacceptable. I think Troy Davis very well could have committed these murders. But to say there is reasonable doubt in this case is like saying th sky is blue. It's quite obvious and the state didn't prove their case in the beginning and that doubt is even more amplified by the fact that most of the eye witnesses have recanted. Yet our courts are going to let this man DIE! Be KILLED! Well his blood is on their hands and the murderous sould of those on the board of parole who allowed this to happen will be judged. May God be merciful but just. Please pray for Troy in his last hours that peace will overwhelm anxiety and that his family will be comforted in light of the crime committed against them by the state of Georgia.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Caroline

      Unfortunately, the blood is not on their hands...it's on OUR hands, the taxpayers. It's state-sanctioned murder, it's disgusting.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Sick to my stomach

    Just looking at the theatrics of this awful family makes me puke. The false tears, the accusations, the whole tone. After 22 years in jail, they still want this man dead. How is that going to give them back their relative? And then they will surely go pray at church on Sunday. Disgusting.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • jowl

      I felt the same way after reading your callous post.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      This family doesn't know what happened. None of them witnessed the crime and with 7 witnessess recanting, 98 percent of trial testimony was a pack of lies. There's too much reasonable doubt in this case for the family to know whether this man did it. Their objective should be the truth first; and suitable punishment for the offender second.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. John

    It is sad that our system proven invalid system of justice cannot show mercy. Also sad and is much deserving of pity is this family’s hatred at any cost.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Did he give any? Bye troy

      September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Nuevo Cicero

      I am sure you would feel exactly the same way if it was your family that got murdered. Right?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      God has the final say. These people who allowed this to proceed will be judged accordingly after they die. What goes around comes around....Hopefully,GOD will show some mercy on their worthless souls.....

      September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      The adversarial nature of our legal system prevents justice, perhaps human nature prevents justice.
      The fact that the only social systems ALLOWED to prevail in our world are those driven be profit and greed and perhaps the true issue.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      If it was my family, I'd prbably want to kill him myself. But that's if I KNEW that he did it. This country and the prejudices it has allowed has so distorted justice that we can't trust anything. In theory, I suppose there's nothing wrong with the death penalty. I mean, incarcerating someone for the rest of their life in 24 hour lock down is surely worse. But Georgia has an atrocious history of racially motivated corruption. Bigotry has infected the police, the lawmakers, the voters. Thousands of black men have been murdered, either by the state or civilians while the state looked the other way; now we cannot trust that Georgia's government will be thorough in making sure they don't murder an innocent.

      I wish I could trust my government, but it has been so warped by evil that American citizens must now question ALL authority, and this is why people are so outraged about this case. Georgia should reform, so that when they planned to put a man to death, no one would protest or be horrified.

      As it is, if there is a chance that the man is innocent, he should absolutely be released, not slaughtered. The family is likely blinded by grief, but I wonder if his color plays a part in their opinion. Racism is so rampant in the backwards South that Southern congressmen are willing to destroy our country rather than help a black president be successful. Of course such filthy, malicious minded people would execute an innocent black man.

      What a sorry state our nation is in.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      It is all about protecting the system at all costs. Who cares about any evidence. What goes around comes around. The people who allowed this to occur will be judged there is no escaping that. They will die and when they stand before the Almighty they will be begging for mercy. Good Luck.......

      September 20, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I pray god I would not. I personally have been a victim of violence some 33 years ago and have experience hated toward the gang that did it me. I have also prayed many times that God would take that feeling me, and he does. This is a process serious violent memories don’t go away, but God will bring comfort. Trust in the Lord.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Nina

      'Nuevo Cicero' wrote:

      'I am sure you would feel exactly the same way if it was your family that got murdered. Right?'

      My family or not, I would still feel that two 'wrongs' don't make a 'right'...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Nina

      'Nuevo Cicero' wrote:

      'I am sure you would feel exactly the same way if it was your family that got murdered. Right?'

      And I am sure that you personally would love facing execution for a crime that you didn't commit...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
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