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. AzHitman

    I wonder what happened to all those black people who were cheering the execution of the white a few months ago, oh they are all supporting this guy. Guess what, like him this guy will be forgotten in a few days as well.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. benton

    I'm sorry but who cares what his mother thinks. This is a legal matter.....

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sameeker

    Will the cops who beat the guy to death in Fullerton, California be put to death for their crime? Or maybe the citizens should just start enforcing justice when a cop commits a crime. If Davis was rich, he would have walked even if he was guilty. I question his guilt and so do others. He should get the benefit of the doubt. If he is later proven guilty, his family should be the first civilians to receive a billion dollar judgement against everybody involved in the prosecution.Plus, the people responsible for his prosecution should be hanged in the presence of their familys.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. mrgmorgan56

    Texas...The land where you are guilty until proven innocent.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. chainmail

    the death penalty does need to be abolished in this country, (even though I am all for it) it costs more to sentence a person to Death for a Capital crime then it does to sentence them to life, I have seen none on "Death Row" as it is called for less then 13 years, that is 13 more years plus of life that they gave their victims. Should one be convicted of Murder in the first degree it should be automatic LIFE without the possibility of parole NO IF ANDS or BUTS, no serving 10,15 or 20 years Life means Life.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Derek

      Cost shouldn't factor in to a principled decision. You take away the most fundament right an individual has – the right to life – then you forfeit your own right. It may cost more, but it is the right thing to do.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. CleoMarie

    He shot Michael Cooper in the face, he then beat up a homeless man, and then killed an officer. The only black and white issue here is that he did bad things and will now face the punishment of that. Stop with the racial stuff, really! You and I are not on death row b/c we are not violent, and haven't shot people. If he didn't plan to be punished, he shouldn't have planned on hurting others. I'm over seeing a pitiful face of a man on death row who did terrible things. The officer didn't have a choice of life of death, and Mr. Davis lost his right when he murdered someone else.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. WVLady63

    Does anyone think that the ones who recanted their stories could be in fear of retribution of some kind????? An eyewitness who was at the murder initially said he saw Davis kill the police officer. Now he says he doesn't know who fired the shot. Sounds like something is rotten in Denmark.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bruce

      Read the article–what is rotten was that at least some of these "eyewitnesses" testified against Davis because the police were pressuring them to finger Davis, and they are recanting now that this pressure is gone.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bruce

    People, get a grip. This isn't about Troy Davis (or Casey Anthony) or the emotions of the victim's mother.

    This is about sloppy, unprofessional, emotionally-charged actions of law enforcement and prosecutors doing the things they did between the murder and the conviction. Where is your anger about that? Don't we, as a society, deserve better?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Frank Rizzo

    kill the punk!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. jennyy

    by by cop killer!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Flora

    Of course he lost – one of the biggest allegations going is that the local police force withheld medical care, told witnesses what to say they saw, and bullied others who tried to stand up and say the truth. And considering the fact that it was the late 80's, when police brutality & dirty cops were rampant, I'm inclined to believe it.

    To declare him inocent/grant him amnesty would be to acknowledge that there were shady goings on in the police force, and you know they're not going to do that. They'd much prefer that one innocent man die.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. james

    Wow, the Indigo Girls are supporting this guy? That means he must not have done it. Oh wait, even CNN couldn't fail to report that the shell casings from the pool part and the murder of the police officer MATCHED! That means when the defense attorneys say "no physical evidence" connects the defendant to the murder scene they are LYING! Shocker. You can get all the Gliteratti in the world to line up and try to Monday Morning quarterback a trial that occured 20 years ago wherein they did NOT sit as jurors; it doesn't change the fact that this guy is guilty.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bruce

      Actually, all it means is that whoever killed the cop used the same kind of ammunition as Davis did at the pool. Nothing more, nothing less.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. TrueAmerican

    Seems that everyone here that wants to see justice for this monster is a racist

    September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • What's Up

      And you're just biased in favor of Black people who commit crimes is that it?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. carlos

    who in hell is she to render a veredict?????????

    September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 7TX

    LOL! Come-on, you honestly expect America to have an evolution of thought and abandon its love of bigotry over a few hundred years? ...hehehehe... this country will die first and be known for being the most racist nation ever conceived.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
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