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. ron

    Hard to make it a race issue when the jury consisted of 7 african americans and 5 caucasians maybe al sharpton and the naacp should track down the jury and have a word with them

    September 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ron

    Probably about as innocent as oj

    September 16, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Amanda

    Personally on this matter, I feel that America has focused to much on paying out to the criminals in Prison. I feel that as a Country we should focus more on our priorities, like dealing with our debt rates and our people, not worrying about others Countries and whats going to happen if we don't stick our noses in to do something to devise a plan to help them get out of a bind. This man killed an officer, so sure he's had the punishment of rotting in prison since "89, just like one other woman had said, the criminals who have no chance of parole should just be executed. There is no point in spending thousands of dollars on each and every person who faces a life sentence. Its not fair to the paying tax payers, and its not fair in general. So, in ending, I feel he SHOULD be put to death. There's plenty enough evidence to hold him in there for 22 years, well then he doesn't deserve another day. Its called a MURDERER. They do not deserve to live for free, or live at all.

    September 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dammaged

      Personally I don't agree with the Death Penalty but, more important is your US legal system is so flawed, how are you sure you're not killing someone innocent, are you going to lay that judge, prosecutor and the jury on that same table? They'd be murders too!

      September 16, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robbie

      You have got to be the most selfish person I've ever heard. Are you serious? Not saying that this guy is innocent but there have been a lot of people wrongly accused for crimes they did not commit in our history. How can you be so selfish? If you were someone in jail about to be put to death for something you didn't do. You wouldn't be able to comprehend what you just wrote.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maria

      Amanda who made you judge? Are you GOD? You're just as guilty. Unfortunately there are many innocent people who have been put to death becuase of people like you.

      September 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Buster

    "No physical evidence was presented linking Davis to the killing of the policeman."
    Pretty much says it all right there.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tyler

    He was found guilty at the time of the case and it should not be flipped he did it and he will pay for what he has done. Let god Decide put him in a cage with chuck norris if he last 1 hour with him not being killed okay he lives if not good bye you murder

    September 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jason

    Al Sharpton should have a candlelight vigil for Troy Davis on October 1.

    September 16, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jorge Sedano

    Death to the infidel.. wait.. we must have 3 more months of Nancy Grace etal yelling at us more taxpaying Americans..

    September 16, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. WomenOnGuard

    How has he been behaving in jail? Has he been a trouble maker or has he been rational and compliant? It would help to know what kind of person he is NOW. Especially if he might be set free!!! My thoughts are, that if he has shown any type of anger or misconduct in prison, he will do the same if he is released from jail. If he hasn't been violent while in prison, well maybe he was innocent after all...

    September 16, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ncrg

      How is he behaving now? Really? He killed an officer of the law! What matters is how was he behaving then! Or maybe we should just let him off because he is black, like they do in Texas. OJ did it, why not Troy Davis...heck, set all the murderers free...bunch of whiners. Bet you'd feel different if it was your son who was killed!

      September 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Ncrg is right. He'll behave a lot better once he gets the needle.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DT1979

    I find it rather amusing that people read one story on CNN (one that leaves out mounds of information) and jump to a conclusion that this man was framed because he was black. This man was identified as the shooter. There would have been direct physical evidence (bloody pants in a washer) presented but the detectives jumped the gun and took them without a warrant. Regardless, Davis was convicted by a jury of his peers...7 black and 5 white citizens from his community. What people fail to realize is that not only did the State of Georgia find him guilty but the FEDERAL Government also decided that there was not enough to give Davis a re-trial, even with the "new evidence or recants from witnesses." This story has done one thing and one thing only...race bait. This story would be a bust if it didn't throw in racial overtones. This case has exhausted the entire legal appeals process and then some on both the state and federal levels. If anyone is to blame, blame the Supreme Court of the US. They are the ones who denied his latest appeal. Yeah you know...those guys on the big bench up in DC

    September 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • observer

      I find it ammusing when people, bring up all these legal and tv buzzwords, "exhausted the process" – "even the federal court agrees"- like it means something. It's all about hideous immoral industry, cloaked in big fancy words. These are people,all there lives pampered, jaded- heartless – sitting around deciding on killing a person is a game, which some piece of paper gives them the right to do. Personally, as a US citizen im getting sick of it.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      @ observer...If you are so "sick of it" as a US citizen, please renounce your citizenship immediately and don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out.

      September 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Name*goatroper

    If a white man shot a black cop would all this protesting be going on? I dont think so

    September 16, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Way to take it off subject. He murdered a cop. He should die, no matter what color he is. Quit being a racist.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lesley

    Add my name to the list. I believe in the death penalty, but not if there is any reasonable doubt about his guilt. I reasonably doubt his guilt.

    September 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    I think most of us operate under the assumption that our government works for us, you know the "voice of the people," and all that garbage. Garbage is what it truly is. When 663,000 collective voices are not heard, we have a problem. Let us not forget why we chose a democracy, so our voices would not be lost and that we may all take part in shaping the kind of country we live in. Guilty or not, a human life is not worth gambling on. If there is new evidence, crazy or not, it deserves to be heard.

    September 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. (Mrs.) Ann Gleason

    "Have been following the Troy Davis case for several years.Since wittnesses have recanted there is certainly a very good chance that Davis is innocent.If there is any doubt ,who wishes to chance being guilty of Davis' murder ? I am a white Christian senior citizen. The Bible commands "thou shalt not kill". If we believe the Bible,we should not execute. Are we going to follow Islamic teaching–"an eye for an eye,etc."? Is Georgia in The United States going to follow Biblical law or,are we going to follow Islamic law? You either the Bible or you don't–there's no picking and choosing.

    September 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. (Mrs.) Ann Gleason

    "Have been following the Troy Davis case for several years.As most wittnesses recanted,there is a good chance of Davis' innocence. Who wishes to have on their soul,that perhaps they murdered the wrong man.The Bible commands "thou shalt not kill".I am a white Christian senior citizen. Are we going to follow Bible law -or Islamic law?Is Georgia, is The United States going to follow Islamic law-"an eye for an eye,etc."not The Bible? You either believe The Bible-or you do not –there's no picking and choosing...

    September 16, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • JonnieDanger

      Eye for an Eye is in the Bible,. If you'll recall it's Exodus 21:24. Now yes in Matthew 5:38-39 Christ calls for you to turn the other cheek. Also John 13:34...

      September 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jeff Edgmon

    This criminal justice system is a joke, as we all saw in the Casey Anthony case. With that being a fact, then how can a reasonable person conclude that any death is justified, certainly a death where there is substantial questions as to the man's guilt. Commute this case to life without the possibility of parole, that's worse anyway!

    September 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25