Condemned man's supporters rally in Atlanta
Supporters of Troy Davis rally in Atlanta. He is scheduled to be executed for the 1989 murder of a police officer.
September 16th, 2011
09:41 PM ET

Condemned man's supporters rally in Atlanta

Troy Davis has been scheduled to die on Georgia's death row three previous times. Friday night at an Atlanta rally and march, Davis' supporters said this time will be different.

Their numbers were greater, their voices are louder and they are hopeful that their appeals for clemency will be answered by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Hundreds of supporters marched through the downtown streets of the Georgia capital chanting "Free Troy Davis." Others carried signs that read, "Too Much Doubt."

However, unless something dramatic happens, Davis, 42, will die by lethal injection on Wednesday for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.

The case has drawn international attention. Davis' advocates say he was convicted on flimsy evidence.

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.

One of Davis' sisters told CNN she had spoken to him Friday, and that he was moved by the show of support. His family has maintained he is innocent.

"Someone asked us if had started making preparations for his final days," Kimberly Davis said. "We are not. We have actually (been) looking past those final days."

Hope is just about all Davis has right now. The pardons and paroles board denied him clemency once before. The board has never changed its mind in any case for the past 33 years.

On Thursday, supporters delivered to the pardons and paroles board a 663,000-name petition asking for clemency.

MacPhail's family has steadfastly asserted that Davis was the killer, as has the man who prosecuted him.

"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 (133 Responses)
  1. Cynthia

    There is no excuse to execute someone if there is even the HINT of doubt and, in this case, there is more than a hint. The family wants revenge/justice, I understand that, but they are processing through emotion, not reason. Of course, the prosecutor is typical, never willing to admit the possibility of an error. When the vast majority of witnesses recant, when there is NO other evidence linking him, its prudent for a civilized society to take a step back and reconsider their need for blood retrubution. Anyone who has had the witnesses recant deserves some consideration from the same people who convicted him in the first place...a jury of 12 of his peers.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeremy

      At trial, Kevin McQueen, who was at the Chatham City jail with Davis, testified that Davis told him there had been a party in Cloverdale on the night prior to the victim’s murder; Davis had argued with some boys and there was an exchange of gunfire. Davis told McQueen he did some of the shootin'... After the party, Davis went to a girlfriend’s house and intended to eat breakfast at Burger King. Davis stated that he was with a friend and they ran into a guy who “owed money to buy dope.”. There was a fight, Officer McPhail appeared, and Davis shot him in the face. As Officer McPhail attempted to get up, Davis shot him again, because he was afraid McPhail had seen him that night at Cloverdale. . Davis also told McQueen that he was on his way out of town to Atlanta. . Jeffrey Lapp testified that Davis told him he did the shooting at Burger King, but that it was self-defense.. Mr. Lapp noted that Davis’ street name was RAH, standing for “Rough As Hell.” . Red Coles identified Davis as the perpetrator of Officer McPhail’s murder, as did numerous other eyewitnesses, including Harriet Murray, Dorothy Ferrell, Daryl Collins, Antoine Williams, Steven Sanders and Larry Young.

      Davis testified at trial. Davis admitted that he was present at the scene of the shooting on the night in question, but denied that he was involved in the shooting of Cooper or the victim or the assault on Larry Young.

      September 18, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • infonomics

      From savannahnow . com:

      "After months of wrangling over evidence and legal issues, attorneys for the state's attorney general's office last week asked permission to submit Georgia Bureau of Investigation reports concerning "blood examination on pair of black shorts recovered from (Davis') mother's home on Aug. 19, 1989."

      They also asked to submit a report of DNA typing of the item.

      The GBI has the evidence, the prosecutors just can't use it.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Reality

    They need to stop wasting millions of dollars trying to kill this piece of human garbage with all the appeals and give him life without parole. Then he can continue to play the victim for the rest of his loser life, while the dead cop has no voice...this is another fine example of how upside down the world is these days, when the perp is the victim and the victim is the perp.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reality Check

      Well I am from Savannah where this happened and there is a man that has told many people that he was the one that killed the cop and laughed at the fact that Troy took the fall....So if your were in Troy's shoes, knowing that you were going to be killed for a crime that you did not commit, would you not try to appeal the conviction. There was no evidence that Troy did it, just that he was a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time....I am sorry that the MacPhail family has had to endure this for so long but killing Troy will not bring justice because the real killer in still walking around a free man.

      September 17, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Maybe you didn't read the article: 7 of 9 witnesses gave testimony that was later recanted or contradicted. No physical evidence was presented linking him to the crime. To me this is more than a reasonable doubt, risen after the conviction.
      If you have additional evidence against him, it was wrong of you not to come forward during the trial to present it.

      September 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Reality Bites

    It's really a simple case to decide. Who do you believe, the convicted murderer, or the judge, jury, and entire justice system. Most of US believe in God. President Barack Hussein Obama, for example. If someone is wrongfully put to death, are they not then either sent to hell, if guilty, or sent to heaven, if innocent? According to your religious and christian leaders, this is the case. Better safe than sorry comes to mind when recalling released convicted murderers who murder again. And if you are going to badmouth God, why not badmouth Obama for believing in him?

    September 17, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Becks

      So, according to you, it is still better to send someone to death, because they will be judged in the afterlife? huh? I lived in Savannah... Gave up on that city... It's like Rick Perry in Texas executing an innocent man....

      September 17, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
    • jen

      You sound so stupid. Your thoughts are all over the place. Listen, shut the computer down and go back to bed.

      September 17, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Kill them all and let god sort them out is not how a sane person thinks. That kind of thinking does not justify murdering an innocent person.

      September 17, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      Relax Jen

      U think u make a difference but u don't. U live in a fantasy world. U r not that hot 25yr old whos on top of the world that u present ur self as on ur facebook page. Now u are a 40yr old women who is down in a hole and if u don't do something about it ur just going to fade AWAY!!!!

      September 19, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. frankswain

    let's call on Mary Eddy Baker.

    September 17, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. yada

    If there's no physical evidence and most wittnesses have recanted their testimony, he should at least get a new trial.

    September 17, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • jeremy

      September 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. suzycue alvarado 5598368122


    September 17, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Becks

      so god should judge an innocent man? when? before or after he is put to death?

      September 17, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  7. M.

    It's better to free (in this case, free him from the punishment of execution) a guilty man than to take the life of an innocent.
    That is what I believe.
    That is all.

    September 17, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Well said, M.

      September 17, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Stephanie

    "Better one hundred guilty men go free than one innocent man be condemned." – Thomas Jefferson

    September 17, 2011 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Well said, Tom.

      September 17, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. yannaes

    Free Charles Manson! Free Charles Manson!

    September 17, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • AusieSceptic1

      Free? I'll have three thanks

      September 17, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Omni

    I remember back in the 80's when this one white dude was about to be put to death for a murder, he told how he had murdered this other guy and the cops knew it but picked up some random black guy and he got sentenced him to death.

    Sorry rednecks, you ain't gonna lynch this one.

    September 17, 2011 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
    • jeremy

      read this...

      September 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pineapple888

    According to a website an estimated 59%-80% of Americans CLAIM to be Christian. Why do we still have the death penalty? This is absolutely ridiculous. Politicians worrying about changing abortion laws in the middle of an economic crisis(to say the least) and we are still executing people. People who are possibly innocent. I want to vomit.

    September 17, 2011 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. mike

    where is decency?where is benefit of the doubt?An innocent man should not be killed.There are doubts about guilt in this jefferson said,better to set him free.

    September 17, 2011 at 4:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. jesse

    Welcome to Georgia. This is far from an isolated incident. I lived there for four years and their legal system runs closer to a linch mob and the cops tend to be just slightly less racist than the KKK. Btw, this is comeing from a white male. I had it a lot better than anyone of any other ethnic origin.

    September 17, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      Jesse that comment is just plain ridiculous. It sounds to me that you might happen to "frequent" the legal system and have come out with a few charges that stuck. I find it hard to believe that the Cheif of Savannah-Chatham Metro PD (a black man) runs a "slightly less racist than the KKK" police department...or the mayor of Savannah (also a black man) would permit this either. Try keeping yourself out of trouble and I'm sure your outlook on the legal system will not be so bleak!

      September 19, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • infonomics

      "linch", "comeing"

      You sound more convincing with better spelling.

      September 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. morbus gravis

    remember hes not innocent he was found guilty, and this article was written by an anti death penalty person with an agenda. there was physical evidence that linked him to the murder and this articles lies to you weak minded people. who rant and rave there is no evidence the article says there not. but there was. and that why 29 judges have reviewed all of this and stick with the fact hes guilty

    September 17, 2011 at 5:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Dena Chandler

      No, there was not any physical evidence. And one of the "eyewitnesses" who has NOT recanted is a strong suspect. His name is Red Coles and he was seen earlier that night with the same kind of gun that killed McPhail. The murder weapon was never found.

      September 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Earnan


    September 17, 2011 at 6:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Paul H.

      Want to try shouting that in front of a mirror? When an innocent person is executed, you and me become murderers with the state acting on our behalf. Since you are so certain of this man's guilt, if you have evidence of his guilt, please pass it on to the authorities.

      September 18, 2011 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
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