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.

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[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. TJ

    Why can't Troy Davis request a polygraph test as his" last request "before his execution? I can't imagine a Governor appointed Parole Board holding the fate of life in their hands. That's way to much control.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • AzHitman

      You lose pretty much all your civil rights when your put into prison. People on death row usually are granted 'a last meal' request, hell if they granted last requests of anything why not request to be pardoned from all sentencing?

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

    What's the rush? I'll never understand the mentality of people who want to execute despite evidence that a man may be innocent. I call them pro death. It's ironic that the same people who call themselves pro-life practically climax every time a man is executed.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Name*Jay

    The lesson to be learned is do the crime except responsibility period this guys deserves what's coming

    September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • MS

      Unless he's innocent. In which case an innocent man is being killed by the state.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      A white prosecutor from Georgia is too stupid and arrogant to be a man. His lack of intelligence shows that he cannot see the obvious illogic of accepting the word of the witnesses but not accepting the word of the witnesses. He is too stupid to recognize that given this logical connundrum, that the rest of the thinking world is laughing at his stupidity. He is too arrogant to accept that he COULD be wrong. He is too stupid to recognize that given tainted evidence, the jury would make an erroneous judgement. He is too arrogant to accept that a jury in Georgia could make an error in judgement, regardless of the reason. The arrogance is pervasive in that the Georgia based Prosecutor feels that it is too ascendant to accept the possibility that "an outsider", "a yankee", "a common laboror" could possibly be more able to cognate than the exalted District Attorney.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • umm


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

      True BUT you better make sure you have the right guy; if not, you are just as bad as the real murderer.

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

      President Obama should intervene immediately in this case to avoid a possible tragic miscarriage of justice. It seems quite possible that Davis is innocent in which case the USA would be murdering an innocent man. I wonder if the same thing would be happening if he was a white man. The execution MUST be postponed until the truth can be established. There is no physical evidence that Davis was even at the scene of the murder. The "conviction" was based on the unreliable testimonies of witnesses... 7 out of 9 witnesses later withdrew their testimonies, some saying they were pressured by police to make their statements. Of the remaining 2 witnesses; one of them is the possible murderer. This case is riddled with doubt and unsolved questions therefore how can the execution go ahead in such a situation? It is an appalling case of abuse of human rights and miscarriage of justice. How can this happen in a supposedly civilised nation?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Annon

    The governer / parol board / prosecutors should be hanged in public if its proved that they executed the wrong guy to teach them a lesson.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      GA doesn't allow the governor to grant a stay, it must be done through appeals which was denied.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      No matter that he might be innocent.... just the rules say that everyone must keep the tape on their mouths and forget the man behind the curtain. "Nothing to see here... move along!"

      September 21, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Charms

    Oh I wasn't into this story but wow it's getting weirder and weirder. Denying a polygraph test will only add to the inferno that this guy might have been innocent. I'd rather the system make a mistake in conviction than one on wrong execution. And you guys hoping for death on truly need help. You make us all look bad on the international scene.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Another hint of a coverup. The Georgia Prosecutor and the Board recognize that the rules of evidence in a courtroom do not permit the results of a polygraph, so, the rules of a court are going to prevail here. Yet, the rules of a court indicate that guilt must be "beyond a reasonable doubt". Obviously many reasonable men and women feel there is doubt here, so, there MUST be reasonable doubt. BUT, again we don't apply the rule of reasonable doubt here because this is not a court in session. Hmmmm... Again, the stupid arrogance of the Prosecutor and the Board shine through! Of course, no one in the Prosecutor s Office nor the Police would want the embarassment of a last ditch polygraph result to contend with........

      September 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charms

      Thor: good insight. Thanks for the input.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TrgdyAnn

    I am also watching the news with this woman, Lindsey Lowe in Hendersonville Tn. (exactly the same area where i live) ADMITTED to smothering her Twin Boys ( i am a twin), threw them in a dirty clothes hamper for 2days until her father found the first, admitted it, and she is OUT on Bail,.....OMG!!!!!!!!! I am in utter tears right now, especially if this execution goes thru. I have absoultely NO faith OR trust in our present judicial system whatsoever. And if ANYONE says that race has nothing to do with this, NEEDS to cut their tongue out. Especially with this woman in my neighborhood, the twin killer, IF that had been a Black Woman, tell me if the story would have been different, let alone even heard about in the media as much coverage that Casey and twin killer has been getting. ALSO, I am NOT rascist. My husband of 17yrs is white and we have 4 mixed raced beautiful children that we love to death (no pun intended)!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ed in miami

    this country is now full of hatred, ignorance (the state of education is apalling)and sinking into poverty...just reading some of this comments may make you! the low level...where did america go? un-recognizable

    September 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • kermit12


      You are right. It is unrecognizable to me and my children also.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sunnysout

    Cop killers should die. Why wait 20 yrs to protest this. Did all social media finally catch up with Sharpton about what is going on here? Where is his little friend, Jesse Jackson? How come those 2 didn't show up to support Casey Anthony? Oh, she doesn't have brown skin...... But she's a liar and a baby murderer.... Oh, that doesn't matter...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • crissy

      Um, last time I checked Casey Anthony wasnt on death row....did I miss something? This man has been appealing his case for the past 20 yrs., he has has a couple of "stay of execution"s . Please read before you comment so you don't sound clueless, regardless of what you opinion is.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dean

    Let's all of us meet at 7:00 p.m. tonight to celebrate the short criminal life of Davis by doing a shot of your favorite alcohol.

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

      Are you to celebrate his murder also?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne

      YOU MAKE ME SICK YOU FOOL!!! I advise you do some reading & have some understanding about Law and how a Judicial system works!!!!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kermit12

    Today the United States is putting to death an innocent man. Why should this bother us as a whole?

    We (United States) send our Troops to war without provacation (George Bush after 9/11).

    I no longer believe that this is a democracy. Not if your a minority (and I'm not), not if your poor, and not if
    you don't have friends in high places.

    Every United States citizen has blood on their hands today.

    May God forgive what we have done to another human being.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. doug in Missouri

    I'm in favor of the death penalty but in this case, there is not absolute proof. It should be stayed and reviews.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Drivel

    Obama is trying to do his job at the White House, you morons! Why don't you ask the Repugs where they are? Oh, yeah, they're pro-death.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Hey Drivel..... some of us white Republicans do strive to make a difference.... some of us really don't like what's going on in Georgia.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Gregory C.

    "The South's gonna do it again"!, and the majority will be 'proud' to be from a state associated with the barbaric, yet time-honored tradition of state-sanctioned killin'. It is no wonder that America has fallen so far behind in the 21st century world.
    Largely, our population just ain't all that bright, nor forward-thinking. We cling to our antiquated notions like a baby's blanket, comforted in our ignorance, while progressive-thinking peoples & countries worldwide look on and think, "what a bunch of silly rednecks."

    September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  14. pchsbenz

    So what do you have to fear by letting this man take the polygraph test? This man has NOTHING to lose. It's a lose lose situation. If he passes you lose b/c you look like a complete idiot for trying to kill an innocent man. If you kill him, you look like and idiot because you don't know if you killed the right guy for sure.

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

    It's Butts County. What else do you expect?

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