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. old man rivers

    All these people against this guy being put to death marching in the streets.... were they this active in trying to find the killers responsible when the murders occured????

    September 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JO

    Troy Davis shot an cop in HIS FACE at close range. The officer did not have his weapon pulled. All because Troy Davis was in a fight with another homeless man over a BEER. He deserves death. It's not racial. HE SHOT A COP IN THE FACE POINT BLANK RANGE.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. flfx

    So white supremacist Russell Brewer, the guy who dragged James Byrd to death in Jasper TX, is scheduled to die shortly. Guess the picketers won't be out for this one huh. Seems like a life is a life to matter what the skin color so why aren't they holding "Save Russell" signs. Just sayin'...

    September 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ObjectiveOpinion

    Hang Davis and that piece of white trash that killed that man with his pickup truck, side by side. That way it won't be a black and white issue.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mary

    From every thing I have heard I am stunned by the fact this execution is not being stopped..
    What is the outcome going to be if he is guilty? He is alive and can still be executed..
    But if he is innocent as most evidence is showing, and he is executed.. There is no way to give him back his life..
    There are no "do overs:"...
    'WHY'???? And I mean 'WHY' would anyone opt to execute some one if there were any evidence they might be executing and innocent person???
    What the H.... is going on here?????

    September 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gabe28

    If your the parent, wife, son, daughter, friend of those victims, it's been a tough 20yrs to know this man has had this amount of time to continue to breathe and your loved one's didn't. So their view I'm sure is, "lets get on with this", it would be mine. He was innocent until proven guilty when he went to trial, and found guilty by his peers, with 20yrs to prove innocents and nothing yet, then his fate should be sealed...We see this all the time, once death row inmates see their last few days and hours coming up, they want mercy...Yet, they offered none to their victims. The compasion is we aloud this man 20 extra years of breathing, now he has to pay for his crimes that our legal system has assigned to him. my 2 cents..

    September 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Well said.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Are you saying that because loved ones are suffering from the death of a relative, someone has to die to relieve them?
      Even if their is doubt as to who killed that relative?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      He had 20 YEARS!!!!! Come on. Our taxes have paid to house him, feed him and even for his lawyers. 20 YEARS!!!!!!!!!! If I couldn't prove my innocence in 20 dang years, I am not innocent! Quit wasting our time and money. Pay your debt to the family you hurt. Pay the same price your victim paid ... the death penalty!

      September 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      I have lost faith in our justice system.
      Who are we to take someones life?
      Life is precious, and a gift we cant give.
      Why should we take it away?

      September 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • n

      Is killing someone with whose conviction there is so MUCH doubt associated JUSTICE?? If I were the MacPhail family, it would be more discomforting to know there's quite a significant chance the real killer just got off scotfree and is still roaming, and that I am killing another life that MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE committed the initial act.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • TDB

      It is apparent that you have not read about this case. 7 out of the 9 witnesses have taken back their stories. They never had enough physical evidence to convict him in the first place. Where is the justice in that? Another innocent life lost? Learn to read before you respond.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • TDB

      To Scott...perhaps the evidence was there to prove his innocence but the pride of lawyers and judges prevailed. To think that you live in America makes me sad for the future of our country.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Consider this:
      You are walking to your car after work one night.
      You see a bloodied fire extinguisher in the drive way, only you realized it was bloody after you took it up.
      You walk on further towards your car.
      You find your co worker in a pool of blood, knife to his heart.
      Panicking you ran to him trying to save his life you grab the knife out without thinking.
      You are covered in blood, knife to you hands.
      Two more co worker stumble upon the scene.
      You and the dead co worker had an argument earlier.
      You got the death sentence........

      September 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kay

    This case is pure lunacy- if 7 of the 9 witnesses are recaning their testimony and claiming to have been threatened or whatever, then something does not fit. This is a case of racial profiling (yes I said it, and I'm caucasian...) I dont think anyone should be put to the death if their is doubt, and many in the public have spoken out. there is doubt but as usual the american justice system is one big epic fail... dont get me wrong, I am sad that a ploce officer was gunned down too- his family has been left to grieve for years...but if this man didn't do it and the courts have done nothing to relook into the case, and he is executed...well God help humanity...

    September 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • nawz

      kay: "This case is pure lunacy- if 7 of the 9 witnesses are recaning their testimony and claiming to have been threatened or whatever, then something does not fit."

      Right, and if those 7 witnesses were witness to, say, what color shoes he was wearing, why does it matter if they recanted?

      What did their testimony do, is the question.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • hilo, HI

      Kay, read the DAs interview here on CNN now. He can finally speak up as this case is resolved.
      The FACTS cut through all the spin. DAVIS IS INDEED 100% GUILTY.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • joeinalabama

      You seem to forget about the evidence that shows him guilty.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • diallo

      kay you are telling the true like it or not

      September 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. MissDawnG

    This is horrendous. Justice has NOT prevailed.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Not yet! It will at 7:00 PM.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mitch Mitchem

    Hey I'm on TV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Snap dude take the sedative and go on into lala land with pink unicorns and where all the trees are made of licorice and gumdrops. You can meet Willy Wonka their and make new kinds of candy and you'll have a mansion in the stars with a brand new car. Go get 'em Troy.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maude

      This kind of a dream is for white people only.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Maude

    I am crying uncontrobally for this man. He didn't do it. Please leave him alone

    September 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      You're an idiot. Leave US alone.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      And you were there?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • marv

      Every white person I know thinks this is wrong. But I live in L.A., not Georgia.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Simone

    I am really saddened to see the hatred in some of these comments here. This has little to do with race or whether your liberal or conservative. The bigger problem we should be worrying about here is the failure of our justice system to deliver a fair trial and judgement. The refusal of Georgia's Parole Board to deny clemency is a blatant and stubborn attempt to save face, because how could they possibly be wrong? How can they justify executing a man when there are so many issues of doubt raised? And who are all of you to judge Troy Davis when you clearly understand nothing about fairness and justice and are so filled with hatred that you just want to see someone pay for the crime, whether its the right man or not. We should all be saddened by what is happening here and feel that the judicial system has falied us all. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone Troy and his family-I pray that you find strength in these final hours and know that many people support you... and to the MacPhail family-the peace you are looking for is not in the execution of this man, it can only be found in your hearts.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      You're gushing like a 10-year old retard!

      September 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simone

      exactly the kind of hatred i'm talking about, and is that the most intelligent thing you can say?

      September 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rudi

    does it make sense that we are not 100% sure and we still continue with this execution....7 out of 9 witnesses took back what they said...what else do we need? can we tell tomorrow : yes we are sorry to a dead man? common we are America the better land.....thanks TheDimensionMachineDOTcom

    September 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      We are NEVER 100% sure of guilt. That's why the court requires the jury to be free of REASONABLE doubt, not free of all doubt.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Concerned

    There is enough to evidence that he may not be guilty for Georgia to not execute. Once someone is executed you can't take that back. I hope the Governor realizes that. If not may God be with Troy Davis.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Lori33

    What is wrong with you people? Can't you see this is George Bush's fault?

    September 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      As Governor of Texas Bush executed many black men. Now we are finding out many were innocent. But prosecutors will always get a guilty verdict against a black man in any way they can. Yes, Racism still run high in the USA. Just look at what the Republicans are doing to Obama. Lynching him with harsh words,

      September 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Randy

    Another black guy crying about being found guilty and all of toses people protesting they are a bunch of clowns just goes to show you they dont have a sense either.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
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