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. Robert

    We the people of this more perfect union might be less than perfect if we execute an innocent man. If there is any doubt about a persons guilt then why a death sentence? Once the sentence is carried out there is no going back, would you want innocent blood on your hands? A death sentence should be carried out in a case where there is no question about a persons guilt, no doubt at all. Does anyone ever wonder how many people have been executed for a crime they did not commit? How many people in this country have been released from death row because they were found to be innocent?

    September 21, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Mavent

      There is no doubt about Troy Davis' guilt.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • jim

      I'm sure it's always difficult (or impossible) to re-prove the guilt of a man twenty years after the crime. It should not be the State's burden to do so at the insistence of every liberal meathead that steps forward to contest the conviction.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • brain

      He is going to die sooner the better. Should have killed him long ago.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      As long as he is a black man in America he will be seen guilty. 7 of the 9 witnesses recanted their story and no they will not say it under oath because you know why police are crooked and they are afraid of what may happen to them for even lying about it in the first place. Do you think that the police dont lie and force people to do things because they are police then you are dead wrong because they do. Im not trying to turn this into a race issue but its black men across the world being convicted of crimes just because of the neighborhood they live in. In my eyes you can never fight the police if they want u guilty u will be guilty they have the way to make it happen. If this man is really innocent every one that slandered him and judged him and wanted him to die has to deal with God! This is not a free country ya'll did away with slavery and replaced it with steal bars and death what type of world do we live in! But oh yea casey anthony killed her CHILD and where is she now?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnO

      There was no reasonable doubt when he was convicted and sentenced. Everything that has happened since then is speculation not evidence. Grow up!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Loren

    It's funny that the so-called recanting witnesses have only done so after 20 years and haven't done it under oath in court. While I don't believe in the death penalty, I do believe in our jury system. Davis and his attorneys have had their opportunity to contest his conviction in our courts and have repeatedly failed and rely now solely on the court of public opinion. It seems even that court does not believe them enough. Davis was involved in shootings that night and only disputes he killed the police officer. I wonder if he even has a clear memory of what he did. He should accept responsibility for his actions even if it means he will die.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Beverly NC

      FACTS matter in all areas of life... something you and Republicans don't understand.

      The witnesses did testify under oath telling how they were coerced by police to LIE. They could not testify in court because there was no new trial for them testify in. Do you not know how our justice system works? There has to be an actual court case for people to testify "in court". Many have tried to get Troy a new trial but politics plays a HUGE role in our justice system. The polce and prosecutors don't ike to be shown to be wrong or called out for unethical actions so they try to bury cases like Troy so they don't have to admit they were wrong.
      This time a man will pay with his life to hide their corruption and illegal coercion of witnesses, the fact there was no physical evidence, no DNA, and Troy had a solid alibi during the time the killing happened. Another person has been named as the more likely killer of the police officer but that has been ignored by police.

      Injustice and state murder will happen tonight. Shame on Georgia for being a beacon of NO JUSTICE and a refusal to admit they were wrong.

      God bless Troy and his family. Maybe one day the REAL killer of the police officer will be brought to justice so the policeman's family can get actual justice.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sabine

      Whatever became of the "benefit of the doubt"?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • drea

      wow so many judges, there is definity something going on, for so many people to come to his aid, including a FBI Director, makes you wonder...

      September 21, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  3. DCLegal

    This has been quite some case since the beginning of the year. What I can't seem to understand is that there is no physical evidence associating Mr.Davis with this murder, and now testifying witnesses have come forward to recant their story. Let alone these same witnesses said "they were forced to give details placing Mr.Davis as the ksuspect". There should be some concern that if he is executed and clear evidence is provided that proves his innocense there may be some civil uproar. Only God knows at this point where the truth stands.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • drea

      Well said!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dribble

    It's well known that Canada won't extradite prisoners to a country that has the death penalty on the table for said crime of said criminal.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • yeltzin

      good – they can keep them as neighbors

      September 21, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Eye for an eye

    Poof he is gone.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. jim

    "Davis' supporters say the original witnesses were fearful of police and spoke under duress."
    Are they now recanting because they are fearful of his aggressive mob of supporters?

    September 21, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Justice Served

    Another Obama voter gone. At this rate there is no way Obama is going to get re-elected!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Death Penalty

      boooo! that's pretty racist.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • brain


      September 21, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • wow

      what do the presdent have to do with troy and a vote whats wrong with you people this country was in a mess way before this presdent came to office and you dont see that wow ........ AND IM A white man who is the C.E.O

      September 21, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Al

      1. Convicted felons cant vote
      2. How do you know he's an Obama supporter?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice Served

      Al 96 percent of blacks at the pole voted for Obama in the 08 election. I call a spade a spade.....

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice Served

      @ wow.....i knew your head would white guilt sympathizer....ha

      September 21, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Puck

    Times up! Bye-bye.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  9. Slartibartfast

    makes me physiclly ill to think how casually you people take another man's life, especially a man who may be innocent. It send s a chill up my spine. Life just doesn't seem to mean as much to you people as the rest of us I guess. You kill unborn children in late term abortions, defend your guns with your lives, literally. You kill murderers and are considering expanding the penalty into other serios crimes. "How about three strikes your dead?" But a braind dead woman whoe husband wants to get on with his life and let his wife slip a way peacefully and painlessly, well that's not acceptable. War, ignoring familes and genocides going on whenyou have the power to stop the. #1, Jesus's chose people? You are going to be surprized if there is an after life. Pray there isn't. The fall of the American Empire can't come soon enough for me. I'd better start speaking chinese, I guess.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • brain

      HAHAHAHA I think its great cant wait till hes dead.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. HDF

    @ sure he was not the only one on the scene so just becuase he admitted being on the scene does not make him guilty! Are you serious??

    September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. angryblkman

    even I know he's guilty. but it does make some people feel better to protest his case. If they need this to feel they are doing something postive, then so be it. but everyone knows he's a murder.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. brain

    I love it. However the one ting they should have done is take him out after his trial cut his arms off then tie him to a tree by his feet and left to die. Save our tax payer money. A rope and knife is cheap enough. He has cost everyone money and time. What a load of crap. I am having a party when he dies. Anyone wanna join me?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • AKR

      So you want to live in a barbaric country with no rules?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Juggie

      @ Brain (loosely speaking, of course) - Is your real name "Brian" and you've forgotten the spelling. With your callous comment(s), you truly don't even possess an ounce of a "Brain". Oh, and as for your great contribution to the World at large, please don't EVER volunteer as an organ donor simply because we cannot afford special folks such as yourself being allowed to exist. Oh, ORGAN DONOR = donating body parts; not one who has an organ (a/k/a musical instrument). Ciao!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • F

      If that's what you want, move to Afghanistan or Iraq.
      Our people are over there fighting to save us from exactly that kind of barbarian crap.
      I'll bet you consider yourself a "real American" too, dontcha?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. JEN


    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. RAH

    Unless all surviving jurors are willing to personally perform the execution, then the sentence should be commuted to life without parole.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. TomP

    The most ridiculous fact, that it took more than 20 years to finish this correctly, is also the most cruel to Davis. The slow crawl of the law is friend to none.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
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