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. dwight schrute

    I've come to my conclusion. My conclusion is that none of us have the sufficient evidence to judge ANYONE in the world to die.

    September 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      The death penality makes murderers out of every single tax payer to the state. This is the exact reason most civilized nations do not do it. There is not sufecent evidance to convict him now, but that doesnt matter. The governor better step in, but then they couldnt exicute there scapegoat.

      September 15, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boskoo

      Let's just make murder legal. It's a Dog-Eat-Dog Darwinian World. Murder is a good way of getting rid of weaklings and people who aren't tough enough to survive the evolutionary cut. Morals are for nostalgic fools.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman

      shutup dwight-when a family member of yours gets killed, then say something-this guy is a bad duded and will die for his crime

      September 15, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Dwight.................... I love you in your show "The Office" you should be the next manager!!!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. well?

    Is the dude dead yet?

    September 15, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • satbobva

      Isn't it past your bedtime?

      September 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. GeoBoy


    September 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cornell

    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. why is he even in jail still, O yea too much pigment

    September 15, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313


      September 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Wow.....I bet nobody else thought about throwing in the race card like you did!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Galactic Cannibal

    Hey people America is a land of LAWS but very little Justice . In my opinion in a scale of 1 to 100 , the ratio is 99 Law and 1 Justice . Sadly I experienced the LAW of America. ...

    September 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brick

    Why is this a liberal and conservative convo? Shouldn't it be a crime prevention dialogue? I don't know any good people who would love for killers to just roam free in America. Why do we need to separate ourselves from other people who have the same issues as we do but just different political views? Its just common sense. If the man is guilty then let the wheels of justice do their thang but if he's innocent then let the man go. We still don't know. This is not difference that the West Memphis 3 case and the case in Texas where the man was executed for killing his kids by arson and now overwhelming evidence shows he did not. Is that a Liberal or Conservative issue? Democrat or Republican issue or just and American problem? People are dying in prison who are innocent and we need to figure out the who, what, where, when and why's so this doesnt keep happening.

    Oh also, did you know that people are being arrested for minor crimes and instead of getting probation they are being sent to private prisons to essentially work as slaves. Its a way companies now are saving on labor costs. So when you see "Made In America" on the label the next time you are in Walmart...know that 50% of those are prison labor. Also, flight reservations and credit card call centers, etc.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • fahrenheit451bookstore

      Brick; your right on, this is a morals issue and it effects us all as Americans it’s never proven to be an effective deterrent, one innocent murdered makes us all murderers No civilized nation should be using capital punishment, I agree wholeheartedly lots of laws and very little equal justice. As an educated nation we should keep track of the out of site out of mind tactics of cheap labor being used overseas and the abuse of the justice system all to raise corporate profits when those jobs can be kept right here for a few dollars less profits and feed our own. I am quite aware of the prison labor, if a prisoner wants to work off his time or work while doing time he should get reasonable wages credited a portion he saves for release and a portion could pay his tow but this slave labor wages and conditions should be unacceptable to Americans. Corporate domination of the workplace is dehumanizing it.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Too long for me to read, I was bored after the first sentence.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brick

      @Jim: Lemme make it short. Crime is a problem that all people deal with. Its not a partisan issue.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. KcCritic

    If there is reasonable doubt, I agree they need to halt the execution. Until today, i had not heard of this case. From what is written today that I have read, seems they don't have any proof he killed the officer ie. witness' – DNA etc. They should at the very least check out the story about the man who claims a different man killed the officer. I'm all for the death penalty, but totally against murder,and without proof he did it' that's what this will be.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio )

    How do you righteously incarcerate any man, and sentence him to death, without evidence, based on pure ambiguity and conjecture. We read about one such man every Sunday at church.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • MPATL

      bravo. Unfortunately most people in GA that are for this killing thump bibles, they don't read them or they can't make the connection you pointed out.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio )

    It's always the pressure that somebody, because it is murder, has to go down.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pwilson

    There is reason for doubt in this case. Don't execute him.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joe, Louisville, KY

    I now pronounce you guilty of that most heinous of crimes – being a black man in the South

    September 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • turtles are fun

      ohhhhhhh! Al Sharpton's involved now?!!! if he's black then he's INNOCENT!!!!

      what a frigging JOKE!

      September 16, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Roxanne Ivey

    for Troy Davis

    Innocent eyes
    The clearest of skies,
    Though clouded by contempt,
    Incite us to see
    The blind tyranny
    Of terror in suspense—
    The scales of justice weighted
    By the jaded sway of lies,
    A life held in the balance
    And a cradled compromise;
    Yet hope kneels at her altar
    ‘Til the day he is set free,
    And empathetic hearts cry out,
    “I am Troy, and Troy is me!”

    Roxanne Ivey
    Poets for Positive Change

    September 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe, Louisville, KY

      Don't give up the day job but do give up poetry – please!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Plush

    Was interested until I got to ...The Rev. Al Sharpton's ....

    the man is nothing more than a jogging suit filled with feces, or should we say smeared with it.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ianthedark

    As a White male, I think I usually doubt the race card more often than not(good or bad.) But this poor man is going to die because he's black, it's the only reason he is still there. What a disgusting display of American justice.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. obverse side

    In a Capitol Case new evidence should always be allowed to err on the side of caution. This is why State's Attorney's offices should not be political and defense attorneys should be assigned like jury duty, if you want to lawyer in a particular county or region or state, you may have to represent someone at state mandated costs. Minimum once every year or two depending on crime rate and conflict of interest.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
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