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. brianNH

    The only thing wrong with this case is that they've wasted 20 years getting around to executing him.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • adam

      Ok. What if he is innocent?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • azazel


      September 16, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Jill

      If you think this man should be killed by lethal injection, no questions asked, read the Death of Innocents by Sister Helen Prejean. Just the thought of sentencing someone to die for a murder he/she may or may not have committed, sickens me. Unless they are 100% sure he did the crime, he should not be killed.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Voice of Reason

    If there appears to be ANY chance at all that this man did not commit the crime then the death sentence should be changed to a life sentence. Why would that be so wrong? Even if there's a 0.01% chance he's innocent, that has to be the right decision. I believe in the death penalty but only in cases where guilt can me absolutely proven. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt shouldn't (in my opinion) be the test in a death penalty case with respect to the sentencing.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • tehMadHater

      the court system found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. now, you have witnesses who don't like the idea of being part of death penalty recanting their testimony. while our justice system is not perfect, the cost of mistakenly killing an innocent man is almost too much to conceive. Bad things happen to people who engage in deviant behavior.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Gray

    I can tell you from first hand experience that the only people who try to block an execution are those that have never been victomized. Those people are all high and mighty now, but once they have a family member killed they will be first in line to throw the switch.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • adam

      I don't believe even the victim of a violent crime would want the wrong person executed, do you?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      that why they are executing the correct person troy davis and not the wrong guy

      September 16, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      You have first hand experience with everyone that opposes every execution everywhere? You must be quite the social butterfly. Or you're just generalizing and stating an unfounded opinion. Either one. lol

      September 16, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. dutspup

    If I had to put money on it, he's history, soley based on the fact that a black person shot a police officer, whether it was him or not.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • sadstateusa

      Sadly, but you are correct. I wish it weren't so true; this world has been and always will be a racist pool of hate.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jim in Missouri

    The evidence in this case is really only witness testimony, and many of them have recanted. There is no physical evidence linking him in any wy to this crime. This kind of judicial tragedy is really only common in deep southern states like Georgia and Texas. Hmmmmm, coincidentally the same geographical areas with much lower than average educations and average incomes.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • sadstateusa

      With a low LSAT Score and graduating last in your class; you can still be a judge in this country. Being a judge doesn't make you smart as most judges are political appointments. Being smart, savvy or color blind isn't a requirement.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      Jim I take it that Missouri is a haven of literacy and is educationally superior to other states? Please....I've been there. The only thing I wanted it to "show me" was the state line.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. morbus gravis

    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.~~~~> Davis' advocates have insisted that there was no physical evidence in the case. This is not true.

    Crime lab tests proved that the shell casings recovered from the shooting of Michael Cooper at a party earlier in the evening were fired from the same weapon as the casings recovered from the scene of Officer Mark MacPhail's murder. Davis was convicted of shooting Cooper. OBVIOUSLY THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE THIS STORY HAVE AN AGENDA, AND ARE WILLING TO LIE. look how many post on thread believing there was no physical evidence when there got tricked by the liberal media

    September 16, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      how does it feel to be tricked into believeing there was no physical evidence just because the author of the story says there was none??? pretty sneaky with there agenda huh?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • neal kelley

      your comment does not tie him to the crime... you have witness that lied under oath.. and look at it like this... the only countries the execute people.. is every country we say we do not want to be like... china... iraq.. iran.. sudan.. and bunch of other arab countries.. I think the USA is better then that..

      September 17, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. atypical

    i'm curious if people like Marv say things like that to simply get attention or if they really feel that way.
    I mean. . . wow. . if it be true. . . that is one case of serious ignorance to have to cart around in a lifetime.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. mikeg1950

    RAH (Rough As Hell, Troy Davis' street name) shot Officer MacPhail in the chest, walked over to him and shot him in the face as he lay on the ground. He did this in a Burger King parking lot in view of many more than 9, but hood culture only produced 9 willing witnesses. The witnesses are just as low life as Troy Davis, so a few bucks offered by amnesty international and "friends of Troy Davis" will give them incentive to recant anything. Of course, they received good coaching by the amnesty crowd and claimed they were "coerced" by the police to testify against old Troy. Inject RAH, and send him to hell where he belongs.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Queen Lattice

      a-f'n-men mike

      September 16, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    Here's another short profile of a cop accused of murder and jailed - only to have the government find out 6 years later he was innocent. What's that you say - the government CAN'T EVER be wrong?

    September 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      the system worked didnt it he was found not guilty correct??

      September 16, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. tehMadHater

    Decent people find this type of statement evil....

    September 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • azazel

      Liberal wimp. Instead of basing your opinion on what liberal CNN wants you to believe try googling the case. You WILL be surprised at what you find. So a few witnesses recanted. They don't want to be responsible for sending someone to jail, especially a fellow african american. Let's say he by some miracle gets out, id bet MY life he would do the same thing over again. I think by decent people you meant sissy. Plenty of those to offend I'm sure.

      September 16, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • amok

      CNN liberal? Just goes to show how deep your knowledge of facts reaches. US is the last developed country in the world with the death penalty... it also is the home to most prisons per capita and 2.3 million prisoners, that's more than China... how about that for liberal. Right wing, Left wing, Liberal, none of this holds any meaning in the US anymore, those are just names produced to lead people to believe that they actually have some sort of choices. Wake up..

      September 16, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      are you trying to say the people who are in our prisons were not given due process?? and that we just grabbed them off the street and the cops put innocent people in prison?????
      or did they get due process???
      if you have evidence these 2.3 million are innocent then come forward so they can be released..

      September 16, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • olifeilds

      yes some are pulled off the streets and are innocent. it is known fact.and they never get there monies back the state never says im sorry and after the fact u still have a record

      September 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • PaulE in Louisville

      What amok said.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Durundal

      Disagree on the left-wing right-wing thing. I think its more about generating an emotional trigger which belies any intellectual foundation. Get people worked up, water down your arguments to a simple slogan/phrase/term and then repeat it forcefully, often, and without apology. Doesnt even matter if you bother yourself with the truth, people are just looking for opinions which agree with what they want to think the world is like. Case in point, the intellectual purge of america by a bunch of retarded angry people. They are angry, ask them individually and they have no clue why (rhetoric aside), or what will remedy the situation, but by gosh they are going to make someone pay. I could care less if they want to fry him, just make absolutely sure its the right guy and that we're just trying to be lazy on paperwork or smooth over a situation so as to avoid calling attention to mistakes made

      September 16, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |


      September 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      So they dont want to be responsible for sending a fellow african american to jail. Weren't these same people african american years ago when they testified. You are clueless. The witnesses all say they were misquoted in some instances and in others forced to say something that was not true. No one is asking for him to be set free, but a new trial is in order. No one should die if there is a shred of doubt.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      There's a shred of doubt because people cannot make their minds up. Most probably lied to get their asses out of the situation because they decided they didn't want to be involved. Well why take on the responsibility of testifying if your just going to change your mind in the long run?

      September 16, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      The witnesses didn't change their mind, they committed Fraud.

      September 19, 2011 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Wow. Lot of hate and anger going on in that post as well as a lot of wild assumptions. So you'd be willing to let someone be killed because you THINK they MIGHT murder someone again. Do you know how ignorant you sound? Luckily the courts do not work this way and a hateful person like you has no chance winding up on a jury.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kaden

      Just googled it..and found that almost all of the witnesses recanted. And the fact that they are black has nothing to do anything. You're comment is racist. And by looking it up on another site, thanks for the advice, it makes me believe his innocence a little more.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lokari

      azazel wrote: "So a few witnesses recanted." Out of nine witnesses, seven recanted or changed their testimony. That's 78%. Another witness who specifically stated that he saw someone else – not Troy Davis – do the shooting. No physical evidence links Troy Davis to the crime. "They don't want to be responsible for sending someone to jail, especially a fellow african american." Oh? One would think that desire would have been more evident in 1991, were that the case.

      September 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • neal kelley

      Do you know the witnesses? Did you talked to them... i don't think so... you web nazis make me laugh... you guys are nothing but cowards that hide behind your keyboard and make insulting and very stupid remarks... do us all a favor.. find a rock.. and beat yourself to death with it...

      September 17, 2011 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Please stop this execution now. There is so much doubt that only isujntice would would be gained. Further investigation is needed to prove that Troy Anthony Davis is guilty; there is too much evidence to the contrary.

      April 22, 2012 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kent in Atlanta

    The issue is not whether he should be executed of let go free. The issue is if he should be executed or not. Just because you don't execute the man does not mean he gets off free. Given the irrevocability of the death penalty and the considerable doubt that surrounds this case, any sapient person would conclude that death is ill-advised.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      what is the doubt? HE WAS FOUND GUILTY BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT....there is no doubt 29 judges and the supreme court agree hes guilty

      September 16, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • neal kelley

      there is dought.. witness lied on under oath and later admitted it..

      September 17, 2011 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. mick

    eyewitness accounts have been known to be 100% wrong many times, the police just got tunnel vision on this guy and now he is toast, we don't have the death penalty in Canada which is good because otherwise we would have fried at least 3 innocent people in the last few years that are now free due to shoddy police work and new DNA evidence. I wonder how many innocent people have been executed in the USA? PROBABLY quite a few us....

    September 16, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      so you are saying they got the wrong guy even though the shell casing matched up and he quickly went into hiding after the killing??? and there was cop blood on his shorts??? who should they be looking for?

      September 16, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. mikeg1950

    Troy's momma washed the clothes he was wearing at 2:00 AM on the night of the murder, so blood stains were still evident, but could not be tested.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. whoa

    mmm, 663,000 potential jurist have resonable doubt, a man's life at stake. Seems like enough to not do something (execution) that can not be undone. Stay the execution, remain in jail, at least that way justice or injustice will avoid a possible lynching or letting a guilty man go free. No one wins but at least no one loses more than can be undone.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      well they were not jurrors were they and didnt see the evidence did they. most the posters like these people believe there was no physical evidence to link him to the crime. when infact it was open and shut

      September 16, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Josh Maxus

    Kurtinco – yes murder is murder. Just as any crime is a crime. The POINT here is punish the right person. With the history in the country of punishing more blacks INCORRECTLY than any other race, REASONABLE doubt should stay possibly (I dare say probably) executing the WRONG man.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
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