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. The Dude

    September 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Limbaugh is a liberal

    So... the recantations are not reliable, thereby proving that those recanting cannot be trusted... BUT the initial court testimnoy from the aforementioned UNRELIABLE people should be considered reliable?
    'Reasonable doubt...' exists when a black man may be declared innocent...

    September 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Don't know why the Union didn't simply sterilize that state and give it back to the Cherokee.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom from NC

      If the whitness' are recanting the story because they feel bad about putting someone to the death penalty, then perhaps they should be prosecuted for perjury and costing the taxpayers the millions of dollars it cost to find him guilty by a panel of his peers. It wasn't the government or the judges or anyone but the jury who found him guilty.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Foresight

    He just looks guilty.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    In addition to the absurdity of killing a human being to demonstrate that killing is wrong, the death penalty is too final an act to be carried out by a flawed criminal justice system. Racial bias, corrupt cops and prosecutors, and not even necessarily corrupt, perhaps just overly ambitious to the point of wanting another conviction for another feather in the cap. The road to the top is paved with the dead bodies of convicts. Look at the number of convicts who had been in prison for many years who have been released simply because technology is now capable of proving their innocence. If they had been executed, it would have been too late. And we're not talking about oops, sorry I overcharged you. They would be DEAD. What if it was your father of brother?

    September 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Christopher

    Come on people, this is not a racial matter! If there is no evidence and the witnesses have recanted then he deserves to have a new trial. Point blank. Black, white, red, yellow, pink with green spots . . . who gives a flying flip?! Justice is supposed to be blind.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Thats why she hides her face, she's ashamed at what the bar does.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ashley

    No physical evidence, no gun or DNA, ever linked Davis to the crime. Enuff said

    September 15, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Oh, thata the one that borrowed a pistol from his cousin, they can't find

      September 15, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tewrobert

    Government has put themselves ABOVE the people,

    We are slaves to the system........Black or white, Yellow or green......

    September 15, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Government put itself above...
      Erm, there are a few fallacious notions there.
      Second, there are MANY governments, WHICH government?
      City/town? County/parish? State? Federal?
      So much stupid bundled into one little body...

      September 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gabor47

    Isn't it amazing that these reports show up in the media a few days before executions. If such an injustice has been "committed" by the judicial system, how come we didn't hear about it for over two decades? Isn't that the case in most anti-execution articles?

    Some people claim that it costs so much to execute a convicted criminal. It isn't the execution. That takes a few dollars worth of chemicals. The real cost is the endless stream of appeals, typically for over two decades, the lawyer's fees, court costs, finally keeping these people in prison for over two decades. That is the cost, not the executions.

    Some other claim that executions don't serve any purpose. Of course it does. Several purposes. 1. Removes a murderer from the society. 2. And we can argue forever, it IS a deterrent (and it would be much more so, if it wouldn't take place two decades later than the murder).

    The most interesting aspect: in many of these cases even the death penalty opponents suggest life in prison without the possibility of parole. Yet, they stand there and support all those cases too where allegedly "somebody else" committed the murder. Now, wait a minute. If really somebody else committed the murder, why life in prison? Why shouldn't they just FREE all those people. Either they did or not. Which one is it?

    Like in this case!

    September 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ridiculous

      They have reported on this case for well over a year, so find another fantasy to center your argument on, because that one isn't going to work. This has been high profile case for quite some time.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, we'll do it your way. KILL THEM ALL!
      And I SINCERELY HOPE AND PRAY that ALL of your immediate family goes through the same route. ALL.
      Since you seem to respect a DA over the WITNESSES RECANTING THEIR TESTIMONY.
      Bet that if he was white, you'd be singing different.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • skip williams

      Gabor, you seriously know nothing about the criminal justice system. You really need to stop posting. It will save your family and the human species a lot of embarrassment.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. interesting

    Isn't interesting that over and over again, either the victim, or they're family- or witness against the defendant- come around and want nothing more than forgiveness – salvation- healing- it's only the state that wants blood. When witness recant, what does that mean? when victims or victims familys want nothing to do with death penalty what does that mean? If a witness recants- why is that not good enough for the state? What exactly is the state trying to prove?
    food for thought.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      It's been ancient news, in the state of Georgia, no black man shall go unpunished.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hammerdsteel

    This guy is guilty as sin and everyone knows it...Why did they wait 20 years without trying to catch the real purported killer and now bring out that this guy is innocent? In 20 more years everyone will probably be thinking OJ Simpson was innocent too!!! Blow smoke up somebody else's azz. I ain't buyin this innocent last minute crap!!! The United States has turned into a very whimpy country for the past 60 odd years! Very sickening!

    September 15, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Rusted one, known innocent convicts were executed in your time, something WELL publicized. Segregation was accepted in your time.
      NOW you complain. The witnesses recanted DECADES ago, after reporting police harassment. But, that's OK. How about we waterboard witnesses for a murder that I shall accuse you and your entire family of. The waterboarding is not torture, per GWB and hence, acceptable. Do you REALLY want to play it out?
      If so, I'll call you on it and have some buddies on O'Brien road dig the logs for your IP and timestamps, then security letter your information and we'll try it out. You'll get the same benefit of the doubt that you provide. That WILL be seen to.
      Since time makes all not guilty or some other idiocy. Now, go get yourself checked for senility, you smack of it.
      From one who hit 39 so many times it hauled off and hit him back, hence admits that the half decade mark is in November.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. NoodleHat

    I am a hat. You cannot wear me, however. Please put down the cheese.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wilddog13

    Why dont we stop all of the bull-s. This man shot the cop in the leg and then walked back about fifty feet and shot him in the head and heart. This was done in front of the Burger King Manager and the night clean-up man and 8 airforce men in the drive thru plus the man he had hit in the head and took his beer and the girl the man was talking to at the time he was slap plus all of the others who were friends of Troy. Why dont you people start reading what ready happen. I dont have too i was on the jury HE IS AS GUILTY AS SIN. Read the transcript and stop the bee-s

    September 15, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, explain why SEVEN of NINE witnesses recanted their testimony, juror? What would you have decided THEN, had 7 of 9 said he did NOT shoot the victim?
      I know what *I* would decide, I've BEEN on juries. I've NEVER ducked my duty, not in the military, not in civilian life.
      And to be blunt, Georgia does NOT have the best civil rights record in the land by a long shot.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      What was recanted Wzrd1?
      That means there are still two, that still identify him as being the excutioner –

      September 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jinx

    How come cop killers are considered the worst criminals only next to child killers. Afterall cops are not unarmed, they have all kinds of firearms and gadgets and training to defend themselves. Serial killers, killers that murder for fun and pleasure should be rated on top of the worst criminals.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      It's a DA and cop thing. If they'd kill one who enforces the law and is armed, what would they NOT do?
      I DO rather agree with that one though. And I've actually disarmed a cop who was burned out and drew down on me on a federal scene that I was in charge of. The difference is, I didn't kill him, I cuffed him and secured him in his cruiser and called his supervisor on the police net to collect him and his weapon.
      And strongly suggested NOT to charge him with interference, as we really preferred a lower profile.
      As for "gadgets", back then, cops didn't have much else than the gun. A baton and MAYBE mace.
      Serial killers are noted for their SURRENDERS. Murderers for fun, cop killers, as they'll kill ANYONE for that fun.

      September 15, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. asdf

    Its tragic Officer Macphail died. Wonder if his partner was Mclovin.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. dwight schrute

    Thanks, jim, for the compliment. I will still have to fire you for sucking up to the boss, and also that one time that u put my desk in the bathroom.

    September 15, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
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