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. Ash

    He can be anyone, murder, not a murder but who are we to take a human 's life? Especially in Troy's case. Why don't they just give a life emprisonment. instead of a death sentence. What if we come to know that he was not the right guy? Why Obama doesn't talk about this? He can stop the procedure. this is some kind of the talion law: Troy killed so we should kill him. Where's forgiveness?

    September 21, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lola

    @minoritygirl You have the saying completely backwards. Innocent until proven guilty. There was no phyusical evidence and clues they had led to one of the "witnesses" known as Sylvester cole. look it up on wiki or just google troy davis, you will see the same thing on every site. No difference of opinion in this case.

    I wouldn't be surprised if years down the road when Cole is on his death bed, he says with a smile, "I killed McPhail. You lose" Or whoever actually did it. It clearly wasn't Troy. People on here can enjoy annonimoty and say "justice will be served for mcphail" but I bet if that were someone they knew or the person was appealing to them, they'd think otherwise.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • theight

      minoritygirl was right. When it comes to the justice system in this country you really are guilty until proven innocent.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Neil

    A jury of 12 found him guilty, the jury was a mix of people. The appeal process has been completed, and if there was any doubt of guilt it should have been addressed before hours before the execution.
    The media is not asking the right questions of the people protesting the ececution,
    Question one–would they have objected over the execution of Ted Bundy? So truth be told, the protestors are against capitol punishment.
    Mr Davis was found Guilty and all appeals have upheld the verdict

    September 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Grim Reaper

    The travesty is that it took 20 years to put him down. He should have been strung up the day he was convicted.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheDudeThatKnowsYourAFool

      Your a Moron.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Collegiate 100

      Excuse me, Strung up you say?
      Sir, look at your calendar and realize it’s no longer the 50's we don't hang people anymore. If you feel he is guilty and deserve to die that’s one thing, but to be hung? Sir I suggest you check with reality.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joshua Ludd

      Yes, because our justice system is so very reliable.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • fryin'fish

      I look forward to the day we can say, "this is America...we don't kill our citizens!" I'm praying for a miracle for you Troy. We have so far to go still.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bobby

    You folks railing about recanting prior testimony. You have not read the transcripts of this process. THEY REFUSED TO RECANT THEIR PREVIOUS TESTIMONY UNDER OATH. What does this tell you?

    September 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      It means that a lawyer told them that if they did recant under oath that they could be tried, and probably convicted, of perjury.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • askmehow

      Contaminated evidence was presented before the judge and jury. What does this tell You?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoRadicalsPlease

      Bruce us right about lawyers advice. I am all for a cop killer getting executed but there is a lot of doubt here.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Citizen

    i hope we decide to show some character, and some wisdom- and show some restraint. It may go along way, to showing the world that- we are more human than they think. I hope the president steps in- if he is smart he will- regardless of what precedent it sets- this is his time to shine, or to crumble- it's in his hands. I would be proud of him- if he did the right thing.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      and then the tea party republicans will kill the Pres for supporting the guy...

      September 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      What about the man 6 feet under the ground? Was he shown restraint?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Bobby, no–MacPhail wasn't shown restraint. That's because he was murdered. The fact that he wasn't shown restraint is evidence of a crime.

      If Georgia shows no restraint, it is also evidence of a crime. In this case, the crime is committed by the state.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie

      One witness said that she/he was threatened by the police with arrest if she/he did not say what the police told them to say. This witness has come forth with this as an allegation. I also heard that the gun evidence used at trial, linking the gun that shot the officer, MacPhail to a gun shot at a home at an earlier date, has since been refuted as not credible. To put someone to death the evidence should leave no room for doubt. There is doubt in the guilty verdict. To decide to punish by death comes as a result of a guilty verdict. The verdict in this case has problems. Accordingly, the death penalty phase itself may never had happened it the evidence used to convict Davis was not full of allegations of police misconduct and faulty forensic evidence.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    No form of government should ever be granted the authority to put any American citizen to death. Period. It's like giving a gun to a child.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobby

      Finish it Mike......but the US government can kill whoever they please in another country...............

      September 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I was willing to make an exception for cases where we are fighting a war/foreign conflicts only to streamline my point of view.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mystic

      Truer words have never been typed. Perfect statement and perfect analogy.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      No doctor should do a physical on a person about to be executed, whether you agree with the deat penalty or not. Don't we have Americans who are in need of health care, aren't getting it and aren't going to die by lethal injection tonight?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bman

    3:00PM a physical? Huh? For what? Sounds like a terrible waste of tax payers money. Just like organ transplants for people on death row! B.S!

    September 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave from GA

    Where are Terry Randall and other right of life activists when the death penalty comes closer? They had been there for aborted babies and life-ending patients. They never been there for prisoners. What if Troy Davis is really innocent? How did you know he really killed the police officer

    September 21, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    It should never, NEVER be the role of government to execute its own citizens. If you're into that kind of thing, move to China where they execute teenage girls for swiping lipsticks from drugstores - then you animals will have something to cheer about daily. It's time this country grew up and joined civilization.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jason in S.F.

    'If there's a chance he may be innocent, why execute?" If there's a chance he may be innocent, how is life in prison acceptable? If there's a chance he may be innocent, wouldn't the standard of "reasonable doubt" disallow his conviction in the first place? If they botched this thing, God help them.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I'm not a lawyer but i believe it's "beyond a reasonable doubt" to convict, "beyond a shadow of a doubt" to execute.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DCgal

    What's the harm in letting him take a polygraph?

    September 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jrh512

      Polygraphs are inadmissible in court.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. KillTheCopKiller

    Please execute this animal so we can stop watching these left wing loonies and black race baiters whining about saving his sorry azz.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Whining? Some people have serious doubts... let them speak.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • heime

      Well said! Microwave his useless ass!

      September 21, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Antonio

      Go back to Fix news. this just shows the ignorance of some people. This is a mans life you bagger, I hate that a cop was killed but we have to make sure before we take someones life what is so hard to understand. I know we Americans like to believe that when we see someone on tv walking with handcuffs he must be guilty (especially when he is black) does not mean he is guilty. There has been alot of innocent people released from jail after some investigation that shows witnesses lied as well as prosecuters. Your name should be KillTheRealCopKiller. adk yourself a question do you get this upset when a cop kills an African American and just looses his job?

      September 21, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viva

      Awwwwww heime....using a microwave isn't as fun as Old Sparky.....let's send a few billion volts through his body and watch his eyes pop Adivan to calm his nerves; no mercy for what he's about to experience as a result of his own inhumanity towards TWO people that same night!

      September 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KillTheCopKiller

    Juice this loser NOW!

    September 21, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. KillTheCopKiller

    He has been convicted. His appeals have been denied. It is time to pay the piper for killing the officer.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
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