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. seirradawn

    I have no doubt he is GULITY !

    September 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MorganPowys

    Abolish it!? Hell no! Put in an express lane and lets kill me of these wastes of oxygen.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TriXen

    Mark MacPhail's two kids had to grow up without their father because of this man's actions. I have no pity for him at all. My heart goes out to Officer McPhail's family who have been dragged through appeal after appeal waiting for justice to be served. Death is too good for this man, but it's the most just punishment we can give him. He deserves no more stays and no clemency. This needs to end and it needs to ends soon. It's the end of the road for Troy Davis. Adios, MF!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • TriXen

      *MacPhail* ... excuse the misspelling.. =P

      September 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pauline

      I don't care whether he is guilty or not, we NEED TO STOP USING THE DEATH PENALTY. It is one thing to have to kill someone when they are a direct threat to other lives, and quite another when they are behind bars and of no threat to anyone anymore. As long as society has existed, there has been the death penalty. It has never been shown to deter violence.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • NOYB

      Unbelievable how our government is so eager to kill someone that if they were tried again, would most likely be found not guilty. Even worse is that every day people like yourselves are just as eager. Nevermind STOOPID. I hope you find yourselves in a similar situation one day and I hope NO ONE has mercy on you.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      I have no pity for the man that committed the crime. To many people have recanted there statement to be sure this is the man. If we are not 100% we should not be executing anyone.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • anthrogirl

      What if your son was accused of a murder he did not commit? What if there was no physical evidence that tied him to the murder? What if most of the witnesses said they made a mistake when the said your son committed the murder? The murder of Troy Davis by all those calling for his death and all those who could stop it but chose not to is not a small matter either religiously, spiritually or morally. All involved in his death will pay a price one way or another.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaconson26

      The majority of the witnnesses recanted their statements or contradicted them.

      There is also no hard evidence that he killed the cop.

      The country it supposed to be about convicting the guilty with hard evidence, not killing people when they have zero.

      I feel for the family of the Trooper, I really do, but that is no excuse to kill a man when there is no evidence.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TriXen

      @anthrogirl You'll get no religious argument from this end. I don't believe in any gods or spiritual hocus pocus. I do believe in justice, however. Justice will be served when Troy Davis is executed for his crime.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • TriXen

      @Pauline Deter violence??? Who said anything about it being about deterring violence? Negative. This has nothing to do with deterring violence. This is about justice being served.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sunshine

    I just pray for all the individuals involved!!! His judgement day isn't here on earth & I pray if he did do this, he repent & ask the good Lord to forgive me of all his sins. We have no say so & everyone in that room watching him get EXECUTED, should go to hell too!!!! Murderers!!!!!! I believe that since majority of the witnesses are recanting their stories, they should open this case back up seriously!!

    September 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Your Soul Is Mine

    Troy Davis tonight you will be rewarded for all your deeds on earth by your lord and master, SATAN!!!!
    ps don't bring a coat, you won't be needing it...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pauline

      If there was a cause worth rioting over, it's the use of the death penalty! Just don't do it!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • peacejustice1

      Is he guilty???? One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles — the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Putter

    I love how all the supporters are forgetting about the bloody shorts that the police found in Davis's house. To bad DNA testing wasn't avaliable back then, he would have been put to death sooner.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • peacejustice1

      Are U sure? One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles — the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. NoTags

    I'm white and originally fom Georgia.

    Since he has been incarcerated for 22 years I don't know why a few days would make a great difference to the State of Georgia.

    I say let Mr. Davis have a polygraph test and if the test indicates innocence, order a new trial.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    Sounds like the state doesn't want to even entertain the possibility that he's innocent. They are simply out for blood. Desperate to make somebody pay even if they are interested. Not a good state to live in.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • peacejustice1

      You are right. One of the two witnesses who has not recanted his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles — the principle alternative suspect, according to the defense, against whom there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester Coles.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Actually I don't think it's a bloodthirsty thing. I think it's more a cya thing, a sense that if they don't kill Davis tonight that some of that reasonable doubt will translate into questioning the actions of the police and the prosecutors, and that will ultimately undermine people's trust in the state itself.

      What it is, is absolutely refusing to even contemplate that you might have made a mistake, and absolutely refusing to budge on admitting that it is even the remotest of possibilities that you made a horrible mistake. They would rather an innocent man die than admit to such a possibility. They would rather a guilty man die while reasonable doubt still lingers than allow the slightest of distrust to form between the public and the state.

      Ultimately their actions go against their desires, because nothing is so untrustworthy than someone refusing to consider the possibility that they made a mistake.

      I mean, just look at the headlines of the prosecutor saying he has "absolutely no doubts" as to Davis' guilt. Who actually cares about his doubt, or lack thereof? Why should we be reassured about his lack of doubt–should his lack of doubt instead show to us a weakness on his part, a refusal to contemplate the idea that he is not infallible at the end of the day?

      September 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MB

    What would b the harm in re-investigating this case b/c more than half the witnesses changed their story. What happened to innocent until proven guility beyond a reasonable doubt? If Mr. Davis is guilty of murder than he should b punished 4 his crime. There have been 2 many people released from jail b/c they were wrongly accused and wrongly convicted. What happens when & if it is found out Mr. Davis did not shoot the officer and he has been executed? We need to look at the big picture in this situation, what value is put on human life when the powers that b would rather kill an individual than re-investigate a case

    September 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. rick

    You know whats really a disgrace?

    That he has been on death row for 20 years.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Anomic Office Drone

    If there is this kind of doubt, I'd like to think that we live in a country where we could give him a life sentence in lieu of an execution.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • HMM..

      that implies that you think he is guilty..

      September 21, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. doubler

    Susan Sarandon, now there's an unbiased observer. LOL

    September 21, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TriXen

    I heard Troy Davis declined to choose his last meal... I don't understand why convicted killers are allowed to choose their last meal before execution anyhow. It's not like any of them paused before murdering their victims and asked, "Pardon me, sir, but would you like a steak dinner or a bucket of chicken from Popeyes before I kill you?" Whatever Officer MacPhail had for lunch or dinner that day ended up being his last meal whether he liked it or not... it would've sucked if it had only been a Whopper from Burger King.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      I agree, Whoppers are terrible. Now if it had been a Big Mac with two apple pies and a large Sweet I haven't had lunch yet....

      September 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Craig

    I wish he was dead already. Can't wait to see Al Sharpton wig out. Imagine what MacPhail's family has been going through and now the pope wants to rob them of their justice. sickening. Counting down the hours.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    The Law is above the Law and can do anything it wishes.... even in doubt.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mercyless

      Isn't that something, Scott?! Absolutely amazes me.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
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