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. morbus gravis

    when the anti death penalty crowd make stuff up like THERE WAS NO PHYSICAL EVIDENCE, and you this story on CNN you wonder how a jury of 7 BLACKS and 5 whites convicted him.

    there was physical evidence at the scene, and 29 judges have reviewed this case. thats why its taken 20 years.
    and hes GUILTY

    September 16, 2011 at 2:09 am | Report abuse |
    • DrDot

      One more thing (yah, I know, I've already disagreed with the party line too much as it is. Such is life in Amurrika): Dear Vatican: deal with your child molesting priests before wasting any more time trying to save murderers and other filth from Justice. I realize it's going against type, but humor us. It'll help your credibility and your cause celebre's case if someone doesn't suggest that you "ponder your statements over a nice tight altar boy and quit wasting our time kthxbye"

      September 16, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe here in Colorado

      You seem pretty smug in saying "he's guilty". It would be nice if all the pro-death penalty people could go through the ordeal of being wrongfully convicted and see what it is like on the other side.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ya No

    This tread looks like a spelling lesson for rhesus monkeys.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      most people dont care about spelling correctily on threads. its not being saved for futrure generations, infact there were some incredible expierments done at a univeristy where they wrote an entiere page where everythign was mispelled and words are left out, but after poeple read it they know exactly what the page said and was asking.
      so in the end as long as the what the person types communicate the mesg that is all that counts.
      just like when you speak to a person from the ghetto and they say "yo is dat da way to da stow" you know what them mean thye communicated, you dont sit there and make them correct it. until they speak perfect english

      September 16, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Do you know their life span ?

      September 16, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Okay Jerk

    Okay sure maybe he did.
    Maybe he IS guilty.

    But still don't kill him. Geez. What the hell wrong with you

    September 16, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      So it's better to use him as an experiment for devils and sadists ?

      September 16, 2011 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      what wrong with who? who are you talking to, im personally in prison and using my library privaleges. futher my education

      September 16, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      What does you education say about compensation ?

      September 16, 2011 at 2:29 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      1) Never give anything away for nothing. (2) Never give more than you have to give (always catch the buyer hungry and always make him wait). (3) Always take everything back if you possibly can.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      You can't even compensate for just one year of your life in prison – let alone the damage you caused for being sent there as a punishment towards your furture –
      was enough taken back ?

      September 16, 2011 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      When it all comes down to reality, you got caught up in a larger plan, that sells and buys your time for their product.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Put the needle to him, he's guilty!

      September 16, 2011 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Faith

    I would like to know where the family gets off being "sure" a man who they did not witness killing their family member did it. If someone killed my family member I would want to be CERTAIN they caught the right person, not just the first convenient person.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:33 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Like you're so sure they weren't at the trial .

      September 16, 2011 at 2:38 am | Report abuse |
    • tanwalker

      Exactly! Especially with all the stuff known now.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      People involved knew back then what they did, don't fool yourself .

      September 16, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • tanwalker


      You've fooled yourself!

      September 16, 2011 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob Ramos

      Death is too final. The fresh evidence justifies a new trial.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Bob Ramos said: "Death is too final. The fresh evidence justifies a new trial."

      OK, you pay for the new trial, the taxpayers should not have to.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Showbiz

    If what we are hearing about the witness statement and evidence is true, than we as a people should excused the poor guy from death until we can locate the killer. Let us not argue or loose sleep over what we know is false about him killing the Police Officer. My prayers are with both families that peace will prevail in this matter at the end of it all.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. bill

    if jimmy carter and al sharpton say he is innocent then he surely must be guilty. I'm suprised jesse hi jackson doesn't have his hand in the fray.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      He'a probably instructing Bil Clinton on moral stuff.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • DrDot

      I'm going to go against character and disagree, simply because I don't wish to bring names or personalities in that are attached to 'famous' people. But fact is, I no more believe that he is guilty because Al or Jimmy say he's innocent any more than I'd believe he's guilty because Rush or Glenn say he's guilty. I will note in passing, however, that while Al has had a history of throwing his hat (and toup?) in with some questionable 'victims', he appears to have learned his lesson and only seems to support people that haven't personally rolled themselves in human feces and then pointed at a white cop and said "He did it. Him. Da white guy."

      September 16, 2011 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      I understand how you play your game and make money by pointing out the absurd to keep everyone else down, DrDot

      September 16, 2011 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  7. reasonably doubtful

    As far as claims that no witnesses admitted to any pressure during trial, that is false. "Darrell Collins, who had made an August 1989 police statement that he had seen Davis shoot at people in a car in Cloverdale and approaching MacPhail, recanted his statement under cross-examination by the defense, saying that he made the statement after threats by police with prison if he did not cooperate. He said in court that he had not seen Davis in possession of a gun or fire one"

    Also, "A friend of Cooper's, Benjamin Gordon, stated that the man who shot Cooper was wearing a white T-shirt, though on cross-examination he admitted he did not know Davis and had not seen the person who shot Cooper."

    Also, as to the only piece of physical evidence, the shell casings that were found: the "ballistics expert testified that the .38 caliber bullet that killed MacPhail could have been fired from the same gun that wounded Cooper at the pool party, though he admitted doubt about this."

    September 16, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. sum it up

    Of the people, by the people...when we have a million people talking we need to listen. At least review the evidence and make a statement to the people.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gerald

    The State cannot Do Gods work. The State should not Kill, that is as bad as the Act that may have been committed. May Have Been Committed. To many Wrongs committed by the courts. By Wrongs I mean prosecutors try their best to convict because they feel they have the evidence, it's a Sales job. Even with DNA we are still not good enough for the State to Kill Another. It's not the Moral thing for the State to do. One person put to death wrongly and it has happened many times is ONE to many... Imagine as a hard core death penalty person, You are now convicted Wrongly, You are in the chair. What would you say then? I'll bet you would say I'm not going to be there... But you are there... Now what? A number of people have been there and have been executed for No reason at all! The State does Not belong in the death business. At All... Jury's simple people and people that would gladly lie on the stand. Judges... ?

    September 16, 2011 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      God already put his 7days in – what are they teaching you ?

      September 16, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      First of all you're supposed to forgive people that trangress against you, not others, you family coalation piece of crap.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tredhoe

    Obama made a campaign promise that no black man would die on death row while he was in office. He's so far made good on that promise.

    September 16, 2011 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      They won't my response thru.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      He hates white people.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. DrDot

    This entire case has the same decaying stench that the Gary Graham case in Texas had. This article has more half-truths and downright fictions than a Fox News "political" broadcast. I suppose that simply goes to show that if one believes in their cause firmly enough, intellectual honesty is something that 'the other guy' needs, but you don't.

    September 16, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Intellectual honesty. that says it all, like honesty wasn't enough. Your just as bad as Fox impersonating an intellectual, Dr. Dot.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mo Hamhead

    Don't think of it as the death penalty. Think of it as premature termination of Earth life-form. Hope that helps.

    September 16, 2011 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      The death penality should come as no surprize for such an act. the surprize are the seven witnesses .

      September 16, 2011 at 4:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. daode

    It's a pity this issue has been hijacked by those with race in mind. I doubt he'd have Al Sharpton or the NAACP's support if he wasn't black.

    September 16, 2011 at 4:50 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Thats how they make money and explains why it takes 300 years or so long .

      September 16, 2011 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      whats the difference, the color the people or the words, they still make money .

      September 16, 2011 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. humberto

    Thats why they refuse to understand – and try to act ignorant and religious –

    September 16, 2011 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe here in Colorado

    They could add me to the list.

    If that 663,000 actually CARED, they'd show up at the prison and save this man by force.

    September 16, 2011 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      why does Cnn continue to block the response .

      September 16, 2011 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
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