Troy Davis put to death
September 21st, 2011
11:50 PM ET

Troy Davis put to death

Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Davis died at 11:08 p.m. ET, according to a prison official. The execution was about four hours later than initially scheduled, because prison officials waited for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Davis' request for a stay.

After 10 p.m. ET, the Supreme Court, in a brief order, rejected Davis' request. His supporters had sought to prevent the execution, saying seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Below are the developments as they happened. Read the full story here.

[Updated at 11:50 p.m.] Jon Lewis of WSB radio, one of the execution witnesses, gave this account of the minutes before Davis' death:

After the warden read the execution order and asked whether Davis had anything to say, Davis - strapped to a gurney - lifted his head up and looked at the witness area's first row, which was where MacPhail's relatives and friends sat.

“(Davis) made a statement in which he said ... 'Despite the situation you're in, (I) was not the one who did it.' He said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun. He said to the family that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother.

"He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. He asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working, to keep the faith. And then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said 'are going to take my life,' ... ‘May God have mercy on your souls,’ and his last words to them (were), 'May God bless your souls.'"

Another witness, reporter Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, also gave quotes from Davis. According to her, Davis said: "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have gun."

"And that’s when he told his friends to continue the fight and 'look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth,'" Cook said.

Davis also said, according to Cook: "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls."

Davis said to the MacPhail family, according to Cook: "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

Hours earlier, Davis declined what the prison offered him as a final meal, Cook said.

[Updated at 11:12 p.m.] Davis has been executed, a prison representative has said. The time of death was 11:08 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 10:55 p.m.] Davis' execution is expected to begin between 11:05 to 11:10 p.m. ET, the Georgia Department of Corrections says.

[Updated at 10:36 p.m.] People who'd been protesting for hours across the street from the prison where Davis will be executed are chanting, "We are Troy Davis," CNN's David Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 10:21 p.m.] The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Davis' motion for a stay of execution.

Word of the Supreme Court's decision comes more than three hours after Davis was scheduled to be executed, and more than four hours after Davis' attorneys had filed the motion.

With the ruling, Georgia is expected to proceed with Davis' execution.

[Updated at 10:07 p.m.] The daylong gathering across the street from the prison by Davis' supporters has turned into a candlelight vigil, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports. Hundreds still are waiting for a resolution. Some are praying, and some others are singing.

[Updated at 9:41 p.m.] The Rev. Raphael Warnock said he was standing with Davis' relatives on the grounds of the prison when they heard the execution wouldn't happen at the scheduled time.

"I was standing with the family at about 7 p.m. By that time, of course, naturally, we were expecting the worst," Warnock, a pastor to Davis' family, told CNN's Piers Morgan. "Suddenly we began to hear cheers from the crowd across the way, and the word came that the execution had been delayed.

"Certainly we're glad that Troy Davis is still alive, but we are still witnessing, in my estimation, a civil right violation and a human rights violation in the worst way unfold before our very eyes. This is Troy Davis’ fourth execution date. I’m glad that he’s alive, but that in and of itself is cruel and unusual punishment. America can do much better than this."

Asked if Davis had had what would have been offered as a last meal, Warnock indicated that Davis might have skipped it.

“I do know that on the last time he received an execution warrant, he refused his last meal," Warnock said. "I spoke earlier tonight with his nephew ... and he said his uncle would refuse his last meal again today. He has continued to insist that this is not his last meal. I must say to you that he evinces a faith that is just amazing, even to me as his pastor."

[Updated at 9:05 p.m.] The number of police officers standing outside the Georgia prison housing Davis has risen to more than 100, CNN's David Mattingly reported. The officers are watching protesters, who've been across the street for hours.

The crowd has been orderly, Mattingly said. While it had been chanting for much of the day, they're "probably as quiet as I’ve heard them all night," Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 8:55 p.m.] Dozens of people have gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in support of Davis, footage from CNN affiliate WJLA shows.

Still no ruling from the court on Davis' request for a stay of execution.

[Updated at 8:39 p.m.] This video report from CNN's David Mattingly, made about 40 minutes ago, shows the people who've been protesting across the street from the prison where Davis is being held, and the police officers in riot gear who are in front of the prison, watching the protesters.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:19 p.m.] The mother of the police officer that Davis was convicted of killing told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she is "absolutely devastated" that the execution has yet to happen.

“I’m absolutely devastated because I want it over with. ... They’ve been through the courts four times there in Georgia. They’ve been to the Supreme Court three times," Anneliese MacPhail said in an interview from her home, referring to previous delays. "This delay, again, is very upsetting and I think very unfair to us."

"I'd like to close this book," she said. "We feel (Davis is) guilty. The evidence and everything that we have seen - that I have seen , because I’ve been to all the trials - he is guilty, and I believe in that. And so does the rest of my family.”

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:10 p.m.] The time that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking to rule on Davis' motion for a stay of execution is unusual, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Usually, it’s handled pretty promptly," Toobin said.

Davis' lawyers filed the motion at about 6 p.m., an hour before Davis' scheduled execution. The state attorney general's office filed a response shortly afterward.

The two hours that the court has had the motion is "not a long time, but it's long enough for (the nine justices) to respond and say, 'Go ahead,'" Toobin said. "So it does suggest that they’re taking this seriously, and there may be some disagreement.”

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] After a brief moment of jubilation upon hearing that the execution hasn't yet happened, Davis' supporters - who have gathered outside the grounds of the prison where he is being held - are regrouping and talking about what might be next, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports. "Troy Davis can never die" is a common theme.

The state of Georgia isn't proceeding with the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Davis' request for a stay. Davis' attorneys filed the request about an hour before Davis' scheduled 7 p.m. execution.

Davis' supporters, who had been chanting, are now letting out cheers as drivers pass and honk their horns. Otherwise, the mood is tense as they wait for a development, Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m.] The state of Georgia hasn't yet proceeded with the execution of Troy Davis, because it is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on his request for a stay, CNN's Bill Mears reports.

Davis had been scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. ET. His attorneys filed a motion asking the Supreme Court for a stay about an hour before the scheduled execution time.

[Updated at 7:06 p.m.] Inside the grounds of the prison where Davis is scheduled to be executed, about 100 people, including Davis' sister, have formed a tight circle and are praying and singing, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.

[Updated at 6:32 p.m.] Davis' attorneys have filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for a stay of execution, the court has said. No decision yet.

[Updated at 6:28 p.m.] Earlier, this blog mentioned a protest outside the White House against Troy Davis' scheduled execution. Here is video of the protest:

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 6:20 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that according to the state Department of Corrections' schedule, Davis would have been offered a mild sedative, to calm his nerves, at 6 p.m.

[Updated at 5:58 p.m.] Davis' supporters outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is to be executed are growing louder, CNN's David Mattingly reports. Frequent chants include: "Death Row? Hell No!" and "Free Troy Davis."

[Updated at 5:54 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that Davis, who had been scheduled for execution three previous times, "has never been as close to dying as he is at this hour." A previous scheduled execution was called off more than two hours before it was to happen; this time, Davis is a little more than an hour from the scheduled time.

"He has already said goodbye to friends and family visiting today," Mattingly writes. "He's been served his last meal. Everyone is waiting to see if a last-minute appeal now working it's way up the legal system might somehow stop or delay Troy Davis' pending appointment with lethal injection."

[Updated at 5:41 p.m.] The Georgia Supreme Court says it has unanimously denied a stay of execution for Troy Davis.

The court also denied his request for another appeal to be heard.

His attorneys will now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution - Davis' last hope, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"The United States Supreme Court has a procedure in place. They know when executions are coming; they are expecting an application, so I expect this will be acted on fairly quickly. ... It’s unlikely that a stay will be granted, but that possibility exists, and that’s Troy Davis’ only hope," Toobin said.

[Updated at 4:33 p.m.] With one eye on the clock, celebrity supporters of Troy Davis are using their platforms to continue to spread the word about the Georgia inmate.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m.] A Butts County Superior Court judge has declined to halt the execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Davis’ attorney Brian Kammer tells CNN the appeal is now being brought before the Georgia Supreme Court.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Davis saw 25 visitors Wednesday during the six-hour window (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) he was allowed to receive them before his scheduled 7 p.m. execution, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The visitors included relatives, friends, clergy and an attorney.

[Updated at 3:06 p.m.] A look at Davis' schedule today at the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m., from CNN's John Murgatroyd:

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Visitation with family, friends, clergy and/or attorneys.

3 p.m.: Will undergo a physical.

4 p.m.: Last meal offered.

5 p.m.: Opportunity to record final statement.

6 p.m.: An optional sedative will be offered.

[Updated at 3:02 p.m.]  About 100 people have gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C., protesting Davis' scheduled execution in Georgia. The crowd consists mostly of students from Washington's Howard University, CNN's Lesa Jansen and Bob Kovach report.

One of the protesters, Howard graduate student Tamatha Scott, said in a CNN iReport video that the students marched from Howard to the White House, responding to student leaders' call to protest on Twitter.

“I started seeing the tweets about it late last night. It has been a very peaceful protest,” Scott said.

CNN's Lesa Jansen took this photo of the protest:

[Updated at 2:38 p.m.] An example of the high-profile support that Davis has received: Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, posted the following to his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon:

"The State should not be executing Troy Davis. . . if there is even a chance that he is innocent, why execute?"

Davis has gained international support. Public figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu and former U.S. 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. On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it "deeply regrets" the parole board's decision.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m.] Outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where Davis is to be executed at 7 p.m., many of the speakers have struck hopeful notes, and some say they hope to change the system for the future, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

Many are holding hand-lettered signs, with messages such as, "Spare Troy Davis." Some have produced signs showing Davis' picture and the message, "NAACP says too much doubt."

One of the signs carried outside the Jackson prison refers to the NAACP's stance.

[Updated at 1:34 p.m.] Dozens of people have already gathered at the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reported.

People gather Wednesday outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is among those at the site.

The group is praying and holding hands, Valdes reported.

[Updated at 1:28 a.m. ET]  The Georgia Department of Corrections told CNN it has denied a request by Troy Davis' lawyers to conduct a polygraph test.

[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET] The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to reconsider its decision denying clemency to Troy Davis.

Supporters of Davis have been hoping that some last-ditch efforts might help save him from being executed on Wednesday night. Earlier Wednesday, his team filed an appeal asking to stay his execution.

[Posted at 9:13 a.m. ET] Attorneys for Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia at 7 p.m. Wednesday, have filed a request to stay his execution in Butts County Superior Court.

Davis is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday night in Jackson, Georgia, for the 1989 shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail.

The parole board declined to grant Davis clemency Tuesday following a hearing Monday in which it heard testimony calling into question physical evidence and witness statements that a Chatham County jury relied on in convicting Davis in 1991. In Georgia, only the board - not the governor - has the right to grant clemency.

Since Davis' conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Davis' supporters say the original witnesses were fearful of police and spoke under duress.

Other witnesses also have since come forward with accounts that call Davis' conviction into question, according to his supporters.

soundoff (5,817 Responses)
  1. ed in miami

    Extremely primitive this southern story...yet another embarrasment in front of the civilized nations of the world...this puts us right next to iran or those places where they stone people...the civilized nations don't do this anymore...they haven't for decades...but the south will always be the south..retrograde and backward

    September 21, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blood On My Hands

      GEORGIA on myyyyyyyyyyyy mind! Stick em!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • godless and happier than you

      Death by execution after due process is not barbaric as you state, it is in fact just the opposite and rather cost efficient when you use a cost benefit analysis to assess its value to society. You forfeit your life when you kill another. This is a clear and simple rule to follow and those who cannot, shall pay the penalty.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dan

    He's been sitting there this long,,,if there is a chance, even a remote one that this guy may be innocent, shouldn't the time be taken...just to e sure

    September 21, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nick

    Buh bye murderer...

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TexanforPerry

    Hey soldier.........I'm not worried about anything now. This cop killer is going to die tonight.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerk Radar

      Hey Idiot, in case you havent heard you will be next if you Support this or Perry in office as any random Innocent will die now....GET IN LINE STUPID! I heard Perry calling your name!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rodney King

    I think he is innocent as he is black and not white.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      You deserved to get your butt kick. Life long thug and criminal.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Argon

    guilty or not we need someone to die for this crime sorry about your luck maybe you'll do better in your next life

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john

    Let's consider what was not clearly stated in the article. First, 2 of the 9 witnesses did not change their testimony. Second, the words "...have recanted or contradicted their testimony." I think that the "contradicted" word is key here. Let's face it after 20 years some changes to their story as the memory fades would happen. So the question is, how many have "recanted" their testimony? Is it just one or two? This article doesn't give us enough information. Typical media spinning...

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • abovethehype

      Kudos on those last two statements

      September 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • EdNV

      Seems to me the only time a story changes is when it is not true.. Do all you all tell so many lies that you can't tell your own truth from fiction? Interesting, very very interesting.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Christine

    Well most of you probably don't even know "the rest of the world" exists, but let me just tell you that we are appalled there at seeing death penalty (the most irrevocable punishment) in a case where there is so much doubt and the only 2nd chance the comdemned man got was to PROVE his innocence 20 years after the facts. He didn't manage that, does it mean anybody proved he's guilty? no it doesn't, certainly not when evidence rests on eye-witnesses who recant their testimony in such proportion. If you are happy with the state murder of a possible innocent, in what is supposed to be a model democracy, that's a big problem you have. Just keep that in mind when wondering why "winning the hearts and minds" of that rest of the world doesn't work as you think it should! It's just not enough to say "we are soooo good everybody must love us and do our bidding".
    Signed: a very very very angry foreigner who doesn't vote or provide campaign founds anyway and can be safely ignored.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunnysout

      CHristine- as a self proclaimed foreigner, shut up. You don't have to like anything about this story. How about you just look over the headlines that pertain to your country. He's a cop killer. If all this illustrious information had come out earlier, the guy might stand a chance to get life without possibility of parole. Google it.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunnysout

      and one more thing- it's not what you know, it's what you can prove.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max

      And you sunnysout ,this person can say a comment freely if she wants without you Tea Baggers on the attack! So Typical of your party though. Were you there the night the cop got shot??? Didn't think so. So you have NO RIGHT to be judge or jury with NO PROOF!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ed in miami

    retrograde and backward...ignaorant people..toothless and embarrasment

    September 21, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pine Box

    Please Stop It, Mr. Obama!!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miles

      Um, Obama doesn't have control over this issue, Pine Box. It is not a Federal case.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunnysout

      Ummm Miles- Obama has control over everything. Except for all the babbling about Change.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Time to throw steaks on the grill tonight and cheer another murderer is going to hell. Isn't justice great! Here's to Alabama, Florida and Texas killing hundreds of these turds this and next year.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. abovethehype

    I wonder how many people who identify themselves as Christian want this guy to die. A more interesting stat would be to take that data and compare among political party affiliation. Just curious.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony K

      These supposed Christians are so radical they make Muslims look peaceful in Middle East! Same idiots who can't figure out Jesus had BROWN SKIN! And if so racist stop following that which you hate TEA BAGGER CHRISTIANS! If we get one of these RELIGIOUS CHRISTIAN ZEALOTS Like Perry as President say bye bye Freedoms and America. WW3 will certainly errupt as well as all they do is fight with EVERYONE.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunnysout

      I'm a Christian and cop killers should die. This story is at best a waste of time.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony K

      Point taken sunnyout, point taken, lol What a bunch of blood thirsty lunatics you make the Christian RIGHT truthfully appear to be. WWJD? I hardly think Jesus would stand there and cut this mans throat. Practice what you Preach Hypocrite Christian Right! P.s. Make sure you read the "NEW TESTAMENT" it kinda over rules the "OLD TESTAMENT" if you can read. Men kill Men, not God. Take note.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunnysout

      Oh, Tony, your words are too big for me to understand. God gave us all free will. If someone decides that they want to go shoot up people at a party and take down a cop, then you get what's coming. Where have all you bleeding heart liberals been for the last 20 yrs of this guys sentence? Lets not worry about this because in 48 hours we fickle Americans will have forgotten Troy whats his name and have moved on to some other highly important, controversial issue to read about on CNN and post our witty comments about.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. labandme

    This is the kind of guy all of the idiot rappers try and emulate. He doesn't look so tough now that it's payback.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      100% agree...

      September 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. "Y"

    I agree with the previous bloggers..why did everyone wait so long to protest this?....The State of Georgia has said that this Black Man has lived long enough..

    I mean come people really think that this Black Man, who's accused of killing a Black Man in the State of Georgia is going to get away with this?..I'm surprise that he was never lynched in jail!

    It's so sad. These yet to be United States of America!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • "Y"

      correction..accused of killing a White Man..

      September 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MarQuez JaVier

    Bill its people like you that I hate to fight for, your a very simple minded man or a one track mind if you will. Yet again as American Y'ALL need to get it together. KILLING SOMEONE TONIGHT ISN'T GOING TO BRING THAT COP BACK, SO WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THE KILLING FOR? AS I REMEMBER GROWING UP WE AS HUMAN CAN'T GIVE LIFE SO WHY SHOULD WE TAKE IT, AND DON'T TRY TO SAY AS HUMANS WILL GIVE LIFE, WOMEN GIVE BIRTH, BUT GOD IS THE ONE THAT ALLOWS EVERY STEP TO HAPPEN TO FORM THAT LIFE. I'm done yelling do me a favor, if that was a member of your family about to die for something that they can't link to them....WHEN DOES IT ALL STOP, I'VE LOST MY BEST FRIEND TO THIS STUPID WAR, NOW THATS NOT GOOD ENOUGH WE HAVE TO TURN GUNS ON OUR OWN.....I'm so over this country....the whole country is going to hell anyway, so when we all se God on that last day and the USA as a whole get turned away....I'll stick around, but not to tell you I told you so....Why can't we just love each other as God intended?

    September 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Simple minded? So, you're backing up the "no physical evidence" claim?

      The only simple minded people here are the ones unable to read my response critically and refute any claims I've made. People like you just keep parroting "no evidence" "no link" blah blah. without offering any credible explanation for the bullet casings, bullets, and unrecanted eye-witnesses. Cole was not at the party, so how did the matching shell casings get to the party and the police shooting scenes? Consider ALL the evidence. Explain the bullet casings and how they relate to the "no physical evidence" claim.

      The court's supposed bias is a separate issue.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nick

    God I love the death penalty!!!! One less turd in the world.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Max

      Yeah too bad that turd being executed isnt you TEA BAGGER!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • EdNV

      Where is the 'like' button for Max's comment 🙂

      September 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
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