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. Jj

    AMERICA! wake up

    September 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. infonomics

    So many geniuses, yet so many mysteries. I dedicate these verses to those geniuses.

    Oh where oh where can that murderer be,
    Is that him behind that tree?
    No, that's not him, for it cannot be,
    He has the blessing of Sharptonlee.
    Then, who could do such an evil deed,
    Why no one, my friend, no one indeed.
    You must be mistaken for a want or a need,
    No murder exist, you must concede.

    Yes, doggerel, just like the plastic geniuses.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dw

      Infonomics....while I can respect artistic lisence, what the fwck are you even talking about?!

      September 15, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wilddog13

    The cop was night watchman for the greyhound station next door. He heard the noise and went to check it out .
    two of troy's friends took off running and he yelled to stop and they did. So therefore he never ever pull any weapon as he thought it was just a minor thing. Then Troy ran and the cop when to chase him and he stop and pulled out a gun and shot the cop. The bullet hit him in the leg which threw him on his face knocking out some teeth and stunning him. Troy then walked over to the stunned cop laiding on the ground and proceeded to shoot the cop in the head and then he shot him under his armpit which was the shot that killed him. The cop was wearing a bullet proof vest and this is the only way to kill him so Troy had to know what he was doing. He did this in front of everyone and then ran off and skip to altanta that night.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      What happened to the two frends, were they the ones that didn't recant ?

      September 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • tanwalker

      I won't take your word for it Mr. Sylvester “Redd” Coles?

      September 15, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      There is no statue of limitations on murder tanwalker.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • eldono do you know this?

      September 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • tanwalker

      Um @ humberto ......the two witnesses who aren't recanting are Sylvester 'Red' Coles who should've been considered a suspect; there is new evidence implicating him as the gunman and Stephen Sanders is the other witness. At the 1991 trial, Sanders said, “You don’t forget someone who stands over and shoots someone.” However, as defense attorney Tom Dunn reminded the court, Sanders originally told police he wouldn’t be able to identify the shooter. Memory usually gets fuzzier over time."

      September 16, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. Wayne

    Death penalty is a malady.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      So are people like you.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • wilddog13

      they and there hoody friends were the ones pointing fingers at other people after they wern't convict of being assories of the crime

      September 15, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      How'd that happen wilddog13 ?

      September 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. humberto

    The malady is, people have no idea what goes on in a courtroom and with a jury ???

    September 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cm

    The death penalty = no winners.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Thats right .

      September 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dw

      The death penalty isn't about winners or losers. Im with you liberals on many, most, issues, but here I think your tree hugging ideology misses the boat.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  7. scott

    this man is only getting this for a few more months then you will die like the coward you are oyea didnt you expect he would the race card most black people do they dont be treated equal

    September 15, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dw

      Are you an american? Cuz your grasp of the english language really sucks. However, given by your ignorant simple minded views, it tells me you are indeed an American....just like every other very simple and dull hillbilly that crawls out from their rocks whenever there is a chance to thump the chests of white superiority. And just so those know....not all of the white people in this country are ignorant self whiteous a55holes. Some of us actually understand and promote progress.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  8. texgirl2762

    Jimmy Carter and Al Sharpton. There's a surprise. Troy Davis could very well be guilty as sin, and those two morons will still be hollering and throwing around the race card. They don't care about him; they just want to keep their own names in the public spotlight. Remember Tawana Brawley?

    September 15, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Black founding fathers, what a crock of crap.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weatherbrain

      we have a mental hospital here that would love both Carter and Sharpton – speaking of which – how is this fool Al Sharpie still being paid attention to??!! He's a moron, a fool, a crook = have I left anything out – oh yes – the breath he draws is wasted.

      September 15, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dw

      Not surprising replies by two ignorant hillbillies who still believe in Jim Crow

      September 16, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. ebjfactor

    In our justice system the burden to prove guilt is on the prosecutors; the defense doesn't have to prove innocence so why is the judge saying although he agrees the prosecution's case is not iron-clad, Mr. Davis now has to provide prove of his innocence or be executed. What the hell? Without DNA evidence, no person should be executed but rather get life without parole. It's a lot cheaper for taxpayers but more importantly, when the state executes an innocent person, then the state becomes the only murderer in the case and should be held to the same system of justice as the innocent so I guess...what...summons everyone in the state to report for execution...prosecutors first in line.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Because he was already was convicted in court by a jury – Now he has to prove
      1) racial malice – easy
      2) he didn't do it – not easy

      September 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Weatherbrain

    Oh good, another homicidal maniac to care for for the rest of his unnatural life – or worse let him go to murder and maim more cops and innocents. Shot him in the armpit so he could bypass the bullet proof vest? WOW nice guy – just the guy I want to see walking on the street. F R Y H I S S I C K A S S

    September 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. humberto

    In his mind, he may have been racially motivated to get even thru theft and murder of innocent people but thats not a excuse – thats the new game their so called elite ministers sold them back into slavery and everyone makes money off of them . Just like they used to with social services and family court .

    September 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tanwalker

    @morbus gravis:

    Lies from an article posted by Spencer Lawton Jr. who is a Chatham County District Attorney. Lawton also stated that Sylvester 'Red' Coles showed up w/o his attorney and he also doesn't believe that 7 of the 9 witnesses recanted.

    September 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      The misinformation is a calculated effort in any game thoes plantation moral people devise as well as their intrepation of forgiveness when their caught manipulating their frauds – people recanted or committed fraud ?

      September 16, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • tanwalker


      Many of these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits that they were pressured or coerced.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  13. Drogo, who bit the dust

    Hey, he's just a black man. What's one more innocent put to death by a bunch of white racists

    September 16, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      The issuie is not his color Drogo, but who committed the crime .

      September 16, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. humberto

    You black founding fathers piece of crap.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. humberto

    Surly a fraud in court demands a new trial .

    September 16, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
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