September 15th, 2011
03:21 PM ET

663,000 names on petition protesting Troy Davis' execution

Supporters of convicted cop killer Troy Davis say time is running out.

Unless something dramatic happens, Davis will die by lethal injection next week for the 1989 murder of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.

Davis, 42, is set to be executed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, and since his 1991 conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. No physical evidence was presented linking Davis to the killing of the policeman.

Many people fighting for Davis' life are feeling the pressure.

"We honor the life of Officer MacPhail," said Edward DuBose, Georgia state conference president of the NAACP, but he added, "You cannot right a wrong by offering up Troy Davis, who we believe is not the person responsible."

The NAACP joins several groups advocating for Davis, who also counts former President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI and singer Harry Belafonte among his defenders.

The Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network plans to hold a candlelight vigil Friday for Davis at Atlanta's historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. Sharpton will speak at the rally at 7 p.m. ET.

Supporters Thursday delivered a massive petition containing more than 663,000 signatures in support of clemency for Davis.

They're worried that won't be enough, as all legal appeals have been exhausted and only the state Pardon and Parole Board can call off Wednesday's execution. The board denied clemency in 2008.

"In some ways, the board has an opportunity to look at this case afresh," said Laura Moye with Amnesty International USA, which has long denounced Davis' conviction.

A new witness who testified during a 2010 evidentiary hearing said he saw another person shoot MacPhail. Supporters hope that fact will be considered by the parole board.

"So why is it that we are willing to believe what they said in 1991, but are not willing to believe what they have to say today," Moye said. "Most of (the witnesses) have recanted or contradicted their testimony and additional testimony has come forward to implicate this alternative suspect."

MacPhail's family has steadfastly asserted that Davis was the killer, and the district attorney who prosecuted Davis has maintained his position that Davis is guilty. He does not have much confidence in witness recantations.

"I'm just disappointed so many people have been led to believe nobody has paid attention to these recantations. It is simply not the case," former Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton once told CNN affiliate WTOC. "On what grounds are the recantations more believable than the testimony in court? None."

Reviewing Davis' claims of innocence last year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia found that Davis "vastly overstates the value of his evidence of innocence."

"Some of the evidence is not credible and would be disregarded by a reasonable juror," Judge William T. Moore wrote in a 172-page opinion. "Other evidence that Mr. Davis brought forward is too general to provide anything more than smoke and mirrors," the court found.

soundoff (795 Responses)
  1. Aliyah

    To be honest it's not a matter of facts or evidence what it really comes down to is the fact that a black man got convicted for the murder of a white man. Of course he's not going to get a fair trial our judicial system is built to bring anyone of color black, hispanic, blue, purple or whatever down. I don't understand why any of this comes as a suprise to anyone, it's been going on for centuries two prime examples of that were slavery & native americans being tricked out of what was rightfully theres. Unfortunately this is just another example of how messed up the system is; a system full of lies & unjust laws that were designed to make everyone feel as though they are less than a white man. Women are still treated as though they are powerless and worthless next to a man. I'm still in shock that we have a black president who would have thought? I am thankful to be a african american/native american woman because I can at least say I am proud of my race for overcoming such deameaning & horrific treatment by so many hateful/heartless people. God is judging our every move & I have to laugh at those of you who think it's ok to treat other people like your better then them as if they are beneath God does not see color remember that. I'm not racist but I call it like I see it & in my opinion this case stopped being about evidence & justice in 1989 when the crime was committed. It's simply because a person of color can never wrong a white man in this world wake up people. My prayers & blessings go out to Troy Davis's family, friends, & supporters God Bless you all.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathy

      Why is it always a black and white thing. I beleive he killed this officer but i myself thinks he should just sit in jail for life, but dont make it a black and white thing make it he killed this officer and he should do his time and the death pently in what he was given so i guess it should be carried out.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kenyatta Brown

    Many minorities are poorly represented in this justice system....If these cases were tried correctly in the first place, we wouldn't have this problem!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. a disgrace

    the victims families of killers like this should be getting the support from these fools instead of the killers! you can bet all of these protestors are being filmed and investigated by the police...

    September 22, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. kknox

    Father have mercy on their souls for they know not what they do. The passage my Lord used when they sent him a innocent man as was Mr Davis to be killed

    September 22, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Will F

    The state of Ga has now joined the same club as the Natzis,execution by a government of a innocent person,justice in the United States is truly based on what colour that you are,what ever happened to gulty beyond a reasonable doubt,in case you are wondering i am white and am still in shock that this can happen without one court or anyone to yell stop,this is a warning to all black americans,i wonder where is the outrage in the streets?

    September 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |

    not even the 600,000 signatures saved him. when you killed a law enforcement officer, you have to pay the consequences.

    September 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
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