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. timmie

    Two of the original witnesses HAVE NOT RECANTED their testimony that named Troy Davis as the murderer. This has so angered Davis’ supporters that they are trying to name one of these witnesses (Coles) as the shooter.

    September 18, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. luis

    What they fail to mention is that TWO YEARS later they testified in court that their statements were true

    September 18, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. luis

    do people even know what they are protesting about? does anyone know what events that led up to the charge of murder by troy davis? this

    September 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • observer

      Yes they are protesting about- the state sponsored MURDER, that is about to take place.

      September 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. todd

    i read it...amazing, changed my mind...

    September 18, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cora

    A bullet that was removed from the jaw of a man who was shot by Troy Davis earlier in the day was compared to a bullet removed from Officer MacPhail. The ballistics matched!

    During the latest Pardons and Parole Board hearing a Georgia Bureau of Investigation ballistics expert was present to testify about this evidence.

    Bloody "spotted" clothing was removed from Davis’ house after he was named as a suspect. Because of the way Troy was standing above Officer MacPhail when he executed the officer he would have received a faint splatter of blood (because Officer MacPhail was on the ground most of the splatter would have been dispersed out along the ground and not upward).

    September 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • observer

      you were there? did you take pictures?

      September 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mikel

    Two of the original witnesses HAVE NOT RECANTED their testimony that named Troy Davis as the murderer. This has so angered Davis’ supporters that they are trying to name one of these witnesses (Coles) as the shooter.

    Coles was standing behind Officer MacPhail when MacPhail ran by chasing Davis. Davis turned and shot Officer from the front.

    Coles came back to the scene of the shooting with a female after police arrived.

    Davis changed clothes (even asking Coles for a shirt later) and fled to Atlanta with his sister.

    September 18, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. jeremy

    None of the recantations listed by Davis supporters state that Davis did not murder Officer MacPhail.

    September 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jeremy

    At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 19, 1989, Officer David Owens, of the Savannah Police Department, responded to a call of “an officer down” at the Greyhound bus station on Oglethorpe Avenue. (T. 759) . Officer Owens found the victim, Mark McPhail, a 27 year-old Savannah police officer, lying face down in the parking lot of the Burger King restaurant next to the bus station. (T. 759). Officer McPhail’s mouth was filled with blood and bits of his teeth were on the sidewalk. As he began administering CPR to the victim, Officer Owens noticed that the victim’s firearm was still snapped into his holster. (T. 761). Larry Young, who was present at the scene, told police that between midnight and 1:00 a.m. he had walked from the Burger King parking lot, which was frequented by transients and homeless individuals, to the convenience store down the block to purchase beer. (T. 797-798). Sylvester “Red” Coles saw Young leave the pool hall next door and began following Young demanding a beer. (T. 798). Coles continued to harass Mr. Young all the way back to the Burger King. (T. 799). When Young arrived at the parking lot, Harriet Murray and two unidentified men were sitting on a low wall by the restaurant. Davis and Daryl Collins, who had taken a shortcut to the parking lot, came out from behind the bank and surrounded Mr. Young. (T. 799). Mr. Coles, who was facing Mr. Young, told him not to walk away “cause you don’t know me, I’ll shoot you,” and began digging in his pants. (T. 845). The two men seated on the wall fled, and Ms. Murray ran to the back door of the Burger King, which was locked. (T. 799). Davis, who was behind Young and to his right, blindsighted him, striking him on the side of the face with a snub-nosed pistol, inflicting a severe head injury which formed the basis of Count III of the indictment. Mr. Young began to bleed profusely, and he stumbled to a van parked in front of the Burger King drive-in window, asking the occupants for help. (T. 803). When the driver did not respond, he went to the drive-in window, but the manager shut it in his face. (T. 803, 915).

    September 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jeremy

    In response to the disturbance in the parking lot, Officer McPhail, who was working as a security guard at the restaurant, walked rapidly from behind the bus station, with his nightstick in his hand and ordered the three men to halt. (T. 849). Mr. Collins and Davis fled, and Officer McPhail ran past Sylvester Coles in pursuit of Davis. (T. 851). Davis looked over his shoulder, and when the officer was five to six feet away, shot him. Officer McPhail fell to the ground, and Davis walked towards him and shot him again while he was on the ground. (T. 850). One eyewitness testified that Davis was smiling at the time. (T. 851). The victim died of gunshot wounds before help arrived. Thirty minutes after the killing, Red Coles appeared at his sister’s house a few blocks from the bus station. Mr. Coles asked his sister for another shirt. (T. 915). Shortly thereafter, Davis appeared and asked Mr. Coles for the yellow t-shirt Coles had been wearing. After he changed his shirt, Davis left. (T. 915). Davis fled to Atlanta the following day and surrendered to authorities on August 23, 1989. Pursuant to an investigation, police learned that on the night prior to the killing, Davis had attended a party on Cloverdale Drive in a subdivision near Savannah. (T. 1115-1116). During the party, Davis, annoyed that some girls ignored him, told several of his friends something about “burning them.” (T. 146). Davis then walked around saying, “I feel like doing something, anything.” (T. 1464). When Michael Cooper and his friends were leaving the party, Davis was standing out front. (T. 1120). Michael Cooper was in the front passenger seat, and as the car pulled away, several of the men in the car leaned out the window shouting and throwing things. (T. 1120, 1186). Davis shot at the car from a couple of hundred feet away and the bullet shattered the back windshield and lodged in Michael Cooper’s right jaw. (T. 1186). Cooper was treated at the hospital and released and Cooper’s injury formed the basis for Count IV of Davis’ indictment. The shooting incident took place approximately one hour before Officer McPhail was shot.

    September 18, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 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. (T. 1230-1231). Davis told McQueen he did some of the shooting. (T. 1231). 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.” (T. 1231). 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. (T. 1232). Davis also told McQueen that he was on his way out of town to Atlanta. (T. 1232). Jeffrey Lapp testified that Davis told him he did the shooting at Burger King, but that it was self-defense. (T. 1249-1252). Mr. Lapp noted that Davis’ street name was RAH, standing for “Rough As Hell.” (T. 1257). 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 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
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    It's time for the world to learn, the "secret code" can achieve a 90% accuracy rate within the oil market. What I'm trying to do is wake you up so that you can see that you can make as much money as you want within the oil market by using the "secret code". So here is the proof, shown live with NO POSSIBLE WAY to fake!! Google Oil Trading Academy to learn more.

    September 18, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Deee

    Just set him free and make one of his supporters actually support and take responsibility for him and his future actions.

    I'm sure there are a thousand other cop killers out there just as bad and if he's truly innocent then he will go back to being a great asset to society... Even if this only asset is that some of the whining stops!

    September 19, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    If i where this man, i would rather choose to die guilty or not, what is the value of life if he goes out from jail?
    He will always be viewed as a murderer.
    Let those that own this world put him asleep, the lord God almighty will judge us all on that appointed date.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Marry

      John, what nonsense and arrogance! Go take his place if it does not matter – dead or alive!

      September 19, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Waiting

      Enough already; someone push the plunger please. I am tired of hearing this about a murderer.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    The prosecutor says that the recantations are not more believable than the testimony in court.. yet if they are equally as believable they must bring this man off death row. You err on the side of caution people. Would you rather see an innocent man put to death or a guilty man go free? I for one am unwilling to accept killing an innocent man as something that just goes with the territory.

    September 19, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Thor

    So I guess the prosecutor has Troy at the scen, but, was Troy the only one? Did someone see Troy point the weapon and fire? Are Troys fingerprints exclusively on the weapon? The casings match the type of weapon? Each weapon produces exact patterns on the slug when fired.... where is that evidence? Where is the evidence of only Troy's fingerprints on the weapon? Where are the people who saw him point the weapon and fire? Do they exist? Where is the lineup evidence? Did the match in a photo lineup or personal lineup even occur? The casing should have a partial print and should have the mark of the firing pin that can be matched... where is that evidence? Do you mean to tell me that the ONLY evidence that connects Troy to the killing is comprised of statements? And now the people who made those statements are considered liars based on what they said about the event? Did any police officers actually collect evidence at the scene? Where is it?

    September 19, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
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