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

    heres one of the knuckle heads that recanted from the amnesty international site....heres his affidavit.
    Antoine Williams
    “They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling
    them that I didn’t know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. It all happened so fast. Even
    today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t
    then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did
    not read it because I cannot read.”

    this read like a smooth lawyer wrote it not a illiterate person. and if he cant read how does he even know what this says?
    his windows were tinted so he could not see????
    how the hell does he drive if he cant see out of his windows??? what a laugh
    all the recants read like a lawyer wrote them.

    September 16, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      So this is the kind of person whose testimony is to be used to put a man to death? Hmmmmm.....

      September 16, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. the law

    kill him, and be done with it.. why give him the gift of life? after taking one..

    September 16, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      The evidence that said he took the life is tainted. How can that be valid evidence?

      September 16, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. morbus gravis

    read these recants....these are people from the hood writeing recants like educated lawyers........
    Jeffrey Sapp
    “I got tired of them harassing me, and they made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I
    told them what they wanted to hear. I told them that Troy told me he did it, but it wasn’t true. Troy never said
    that or anything like it. When it came time for Troy’s trial, the police made it clear to me that I needed to stick
    to my original statement; that is, what they wanted me to say. I didn’t want to have any more problems with
    the cops, so I testified against Troy

    September 16, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Boskoohoo

      Hang him high.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      so he committed purgery himself... committed a crime.. lol

      September 16, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      And so.... you are more than happy to use the "evidence" from these kinds of people to convict and kill this man? Even though the police are stated as having influenced the statements? Is that where you are in this day and age? Are you so bent on killing him for ........... what?

      September 16, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Not sure about your conclusions regarding who authored the statements. What science did you base that on? By the way..... you can use spell check in Word and copy it into these little white blocks. Your spelling will probably be more...... scientific.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Terrance D. M.

    This sounds racial black and white let's get the minoroty. Just like Lenoard Peltier prisoner for what

    September 16, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Boskoohoo

      Peltier is guilty of murder AND stupidity. Hardly the clever indian warrior.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Brenda

      My first writings were liltte stories I made up at home. A few of these are still extant, but alas, my great 10-year-old masterpiece a lengthy sequel to the first Star Wars movie in 1977 is not. I dreamt it, I wrote it out, and I spent a couple of weeks typing it up during recess on the classroom typewriter. Then I mailed it off to George Lucas. (It did not become one of the sequels (or prequels).)I sure would love to read it again, but unless Mr. Lucas saved a copy, it's gone.

      December 31, 2012 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Terrance D. M.

    This sounds racial black and white let's get the minoroty. Just like Lenoard Peltier prisoner for what?

    September 16, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. bt1906

    How can we begin to consider Executing a possibly innocent man. The evidence is there today to prove this mans innocent but everyone is ignoring the facts. Almost all of the witnesses have recanted their testimony which the case was built on witness testimony and said they did not see him shoot the officer. One of the witnesses is considered a suspect because he was harassing the homeless man that officer was responding too. All the witnesses said the police told them to tell the jury that they saw Troy kill the officer. There are so many holes in this case such as no murder weapon nor motive was found in this case. There was no evidence but witness testimony. These witnesses testimony was good in 1991 but there testimony in 2011 means nothing thats absurd. It may not be about race but if you wrongfully kill this man for a crime he didnt commit then what is it about because the case isnt solved.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    It is what it is... 6% of the population is black, yet 46% of all murders are comitted by blacks. DOJ stat, not mine. Kill him. This will prevent him from doing it again. Something in the DNA and I don't like it but stats are what they are

    September 16, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Blake Hart

      That's quite the racist comment, "Something in the DNA"??? How about inequality in opportunity, more scrutiny by police, poor defense by court ordered attorneys.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • amok

      Majority of minorities live in ghettos created by whites. Minorities unable to go to universities and obtain proper eduction, unable to purchase property, unable to start business' and this is not 200 years ago, this is recent history. Your statement not only drips of ignorance but also absolute nonsense. Before you type again, I recommend thinking or at least reading some of the history of your own country. I'm a white dude, not that it matters, or should, but somehow I've managed to get a grip on the social issues of US minorities, you could to.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • eric

      12.6% of the nation is African-American. 52.2% of homicides committed by blacks, 45.5% committed by whites. Chris, kill yourself before you kill someone else. Stats don't lie.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Gigi

      You obviously have missed the point. The 46% is inflated because BLACK people like Troy Davis have been wrongfully convicted.

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

      It's the jungle genetics. Most of the slaves from Africa were already slaves when the traders purchased them. They were the dregs, the riffraff, the criminals, the lazy. No Kunta Kinte types. The old Africans who sold them off probably laughed at how they sold a load of junk to the traders. Like the Miranbella business on a huge scale.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      amok – WHAT?!?! Yes it is the white mans fault that the blacks today don't go to school. It is the white man's fault that they dont take advantage of the MINORITY ONLY scholarships and small business loans... (which seems racists to me...) You preach it ! The white man's fault they drop out of school... The curriculum is crap anyway.. it is racially bias... Teaching that match and English and science. The blacks have every right to live in the past!! They have the right to not want to improve themselves! You take it to the mountain tops and shout it for all to hear.

      OR you can grow up and realize that most things in peoples lives are directly influenced by themselves and the positions they put themselves in. Your poor? why? Cause you dropped out of high school? Why? Cause I didnt like it. Did you learn a trade? Trade? Yes mechanic or Plumber or Electrician? No Why not? They make really good money. Well I rather sit around and get money from the govt for doing nothin' I wonder why my lot in life doesn't improve?!?!

      September 16, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Boskoohoo

      Gigi, OK, the murderer WAS identified as a black man so that wouldn't change the statistics.

      Cyrus, it's the genetics, takes twenty generations to work out the bad genes.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      So is it better that we all agree to allow the State of Georgia to kill 20 black innocent people in a population of 100 white people to attain a zero percentage of disallowed genetics by the majority? Or can we just allow the State of Georgia to kill one black man whose guilt is now in doubt?

      September 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kaden

      What an awful comment! You are a disgusting human being.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. vdanker

    This is Georgia, people, they aren't going to concern themselves with facts. They just want revenge for the death of a policeman.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      vdanker please do tell the "facts" you claim the State of Georgia chooses to dismiss. Here is a fact for ya: The jury that convicted Davis was comprised of 7 black and 5 white peers from his community. The case exhausted every appeal in favor of his conviction. It was then heard on the Federal level where the Supreme Court of the US directed a Federal District Court to revisit the evidence in the case to see if a new trial was warranted. The FEDERAL District Court said that despite the "new evidence" and witness recants that his guilt was upheld. A subsequent appeal to the US Supreme Court was denied by guess who.....the US Supreme Court Justices. So please vdanker, analyze the "facts" that 29 different state and federal judges simply cannot seem to grasp. I'm sure your legally superior mind can bring something to the table. Or let me guess....this is probably the first article you have read on this case. Troll

      September 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. May God's Will Be Done!

    I bind the hands of the enemy in Jesus' name, for it is written, "what so ever is bound on earth will be bound in Heaven, and what so ever is loosed on earth is loosed in Heaven". God is our ultimate judge, and will do so to all. If there is the slightest chance this man is innocent, then those who have means to delay (not call off, just delay for the sake of inquiry) his execution will be just as guilty of murder than the supposed murderer himself. The blood of the innocent will be on their hands. Anyone in this same scenerio would want as much done on their behalf as this man deserves, it's a life and can not no matter how or when they take it bring back the victim. Be certain, be exact, be careful in the decisions made with someone's life.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Amen Corner

      Amen and Amen!

      September 16, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Ask yourself... what if this was my brother, friend, or father... Would you perhaps feel differently then? It will be another sad day for America and Justice if an inocent man is put to death. America sure has a lot of bad blood on our hands. We're cursed by those we wrongly judge and execute in God's name.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Cyrus

      Mike – you don't know if he is innocent. He has had 22 years to prove it. 22. The death penalty will never be a deterrent or a real punishment if it isn't executed more swiftly.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • romw2894

      First thing you don't have a clue whether he is innocent or not. He was proven guilty. The appeals courts have turned his lawyers down. Tell though, would you feel different if the cop he killed was your brother or your father?

      September 16, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      If you read the events.... he has had only one time to prove his innocence. Now, he can only prove that the evidence was faulty. That is what is being ignored. That is what makes justice in Georgia.......... a problem.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karina

    When there is a doubt of guilt, we would be barbaric to execute a possibly innocent man. This is not better than Iran and the likes! Let's practice what we preach..

    September 16, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      where is the doubt in the guilt? his shorts had the cops blood on them??? looks clear cut to me

      September 16, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • romw2894

      where is the "doubt" of his guilt. Not here. Probably only in your head.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Morbis, did you read up on the case?

      September 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. morbus gravis

    the recants are funny to read, google them, imagine people from the hood sitting down writing these eloquent recants. how much you want to bet it was a lawyer who wrote the recant and these people simply signed them. even the guy who is illiterate writes his recant like professional lawyer???

    September 16, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Thor

      Since we only have YOUR "scientific" analysis to go on, I am one to hold that a JURY would better be positioned to re-evaluate those statements. The fact that we all are here arguing .... seems to portend an environment of question. We all disagree on more than the basis of race, but.... it seems... on the validity of the evidence. EVIDENCE! So.... that means the evidence is tainted, and, therefore the trial was defective. Therefore........... retrial. Simple. Nothing hidden, no agenda..... just a simple do-over that might show he just might be......... guilty? not guilty? innocent? Do you know?

      September 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. MissWendy

    I have been reading these posts all morning. The one that's a kicker to me is the person who feels nothing is wrong with a socialist government. It would make the lazy person only stick his hand out farther for you to feed him and what would be the point of trying to get ahead in life when you're just going to end up having the same amount of nothing that everyone has. You want that kinf of government then get out of the U.S. Sorry, got off topic but sheep that feel that way makes me sick. i

    September 16, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • ShaneB

      @MissWendy Thats what made the Soviet Untion fall apart. Too many people willing to do nothing and still get services.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. ShaneB

    Something they don't mention is that he confessed to killing the police officer.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. MissWendy

    Its all the same dribble "white y is keeping you down." I live in the South where we have a black mayor, black sheriff, and a mostly black commissioners board. I work for a very nice black couple. These are the people who don't use that out dated thought.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
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