Death-row inmate Troy Davis denied clemency
September 20th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Death-row inmate Troy Davis denied clemency

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for death-row inmate Troy Davis.

Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.

Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at a state prison in Jackson, Georgia.

"Monday September 19, 2011, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles met to consider a clemency request from attorneys representing condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis. After considering the request, the Board has voted to deny clemency," the board said in a statement Tuesday morning.

The five-member parole board votes in a secret ballot.

Davis has gained international support for his long-standing claim that he did not kill MacPhail. International figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, and former President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte, and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated.

He has been scheduled to die three times before, most recently in October 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay two hours before he was to be executed.

Since Davis' conviction in 1991, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. There also have been questions about the physical evidence - and, according to some, the lack thereof - linking Davis to the killing.

Amnesty International reacted angrily to the clemency denial on Tuesday.

"It is unconscionable that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis. Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice," Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday.

"Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system," the statement said.

But the victim's mother, Anne MacPhail, said she's satisfied that Davis will be executed.

"Well, justice is done, that's the way we look at it. That's what we wanted," the mother told CNN. "I am very convinced that he is guilty."

She said she would not attend Davis' execution but family members would be there.

Anne MacPhail said she has not forgiven the convicted of killing her son.

"Not yet, maybe sometime," she said.

The NAACP and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty had joined Amnesty International in organizing support for Davis, setting up about 300 rallies, vigils and events worldwide in the past week or so. In addition, they said that more than 1 million people have signed a petition in support of Davis' bid to be exonerated.

In a 2008 statement, then-Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton described how Davis was at a pool party in Savannah when he shot another man, Michael Cooper, wounding him in the face. Davis was then driven to a nearby convenience store, where he pistol-whipped a homeless man, Larry Young, who'd just bought a beer.

Soon thereafter, prosecutors said, MacPhail - who was working in uniform, off-duty, at a nearby bus station and restaurant - arrived. It was then, the jury determined, that Davis shot the officer three times, including once in the face as he stood over him.

Davis' lawyers, in a federal court filing, insisted that there is "no physical evidence linking" Davis to MacPhail's murder. They point, too, to "the unremarkable conclusion" of a ballistics expert who testified that he could not find definitively that the bullets that wounded Cooper and killed MacPhail were the same.

Georgia's attorney general, in an online statement, claimed that the expert said the bullets came from the same gun type and noted that casings at the pool party shooting matched - thus came from the same firearm as - those found at MacPhail's murder scene.

Two decades ago, a jury convicted Davis on two counts of aggravated assault and one each of possessing a firearm during a crime, obstructing a law enforcement officer and murder. The latter charge led, soon thereafter, to his death sentence.

While 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 parole board denied had denied Davis clemency once before. The board has never changed its mind on any case in the past 33 years.

Read more CNN coverage on the Troy Davis case
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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (2,336 Responses)
  1. Whoa

    Thought for sure he'd get clemency, given that there were so many questions.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • ipmutt

      Obama bullies at work. Give a killer a break based on race. Now that is what we want in a president.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • A. Goodwin

      Imput – You are a moron. Please tell me what this has to do with Obama. I'll give you the answer – nothing.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • mewad

      Georgia Be ashamed of your legal system. Now does killing this man bring back the dead police officer? We are not God an one day we shall all find out. Then family saying they were waiting for the man to be executed. We shall pay for our sins. Give the man life being their are so many different stories, questions, etc.

      September 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. us1776

    At the very least Troy Davis sentence should be commuted to life-in-prison considering all the recantations there have been by the witnesses.

    There is now a very good possibility that an innocent man may be put to death. That should never happen.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
    • CB

      I agree. Due to the amount of questions they should give him life in prison instead of death. This gives a way to free him should more evidence come forth that may prove him innocent.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Not sure this guy is innocent. At the very least, he shot someone in the face and pistol whipped another. That doesn't sound like a model citizen. No big loss to society.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Hannah

      Matt-At the very least? At the very least he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • For Sure

      Hannah – he COFESSED and admitted to shooting the person in the face and pistol whipping the homeless guy (all with the same gun). And then they find the exact same bullet casing on the dead cop. This is not a coincidence. He's guilty. The recantations are just noise. No one has said he didn't do it, at best, 20 years later they are saying things like he ran away west instead of southwest like they testified to. It's insignificant parts of their testimony that they are recanting. Get all the facts (like the parole board reviewed) and you'll understand.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Avenger

      "...considering all the recantations.."

      If a bunch of thugs lied then to thwart justice, then they are lying now to thwart justice.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • paulm5545

      US1776 – But it's ok to have an "innocent" man serve a life in prison term?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Demeanor

      RE: "Not sure this guy is innocent. At the very least, he shot someone in the face and pistol whipped another. That doesn't sound like a model citizen. No big loss to society..."

      So in your mind, committing crime A and B proves he committed crime C? That is not proof. Then you admit you aren't sure, but say that since he isn't a model citizen you'd pull the switch? Amazing. And I'll bet you and your friends hate Isam bercause, wait for it.... 'those people don't value human life'. It's because of cretins like you that I would never want to be tried by a jury in this country.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • McCain-in-4

      Pistol whipping a homeless man means the gun WAS IN TROY DAVIS' HAND at the convenience store. Can it be any stretch of your imagination to think everybody else in the store weren't fingering their firearms in such a public manner?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry Pairatestes

      So if you question his conviction why should he be in prison for the rest of his life?

      September 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brandon

    1989 and this guy is still alive? He should have either been executed or released a long time ago.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. hill

    20 years too late.....sad.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  5. bill wilcox

    Great news for justice!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sam

    Sad if he didn't do it

    September 20, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mandy

    Unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Candace Young

    It would seem like people would wanna make sure without a reasonable doubt that he's guilty before they take anyone's life and in this case there's reasonable doubts so an innocent man could be executed and thats scary!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • SanityCheck

      The doubt is in no way "reasonable". Look at the actual facts and not the media hype from anti death penalty dream world thinkers and you'll agree. The case was reviewed at the highest levels and every fact was examined and it was found no reasonable doubt existed. Which is easier to believe – that a confessed criminal (confessed to shooting first person) is lying because he's trying anything to save his skin – or that a huge gov't conspiracy exists that includes lawers, judges, parole boards, and like 40 people with nothing to gain all designed to randomly pick some dude out and make a 20 year push to kill him for no reason???

      September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      @sanity..."with nothing to gain"? They have everything to gain because if they admit that they sent an innocent man to his death they couldn't handle the guilt so they have to keep denying. How do you explain prosecutors in cases where DNA has cleared the convicted person still insisting that the person was guilty of the crime? To say otherwise proves that they weren't concerned about justice, only convictions, winning at any cost.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • David Shelly

      You see Candace all these right wing evangelicals are the furtherest thing from true christians. I have ever seen in any christian teachings that it is ok to ever take a life........... Especially all you "right to life" idiots!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Santa Claus

    Merry Christmas!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • satanbug

      is this are 1 in the same no?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nathan

    Cue those racists like bill wilcox who cheer to see a non-white man put to death

    September 20, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveinSC

      nathan, please take a long trip to somewhere other than the US and forget to come back, you are not needed here. We have enough idiots, one less like yourself will make it better.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • nathan

      anything that hurts bill suk cox is good for this country

      September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveinSC

      well that did not take long for to resort to the profane name calling liberals are famous for Nathan. I come from a long line of patriotic people who have died in military conflicts from WW1 thru to Desert storm. So enjoy that freedom that my FAMILY helped to provide you. Also you can place that tree you want me to hit in the place where you no doubt get reamed very often. Have a great day

      September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • yousogay

      Nathan you just wish Bill Wilcox would suck your cox.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • debbie

      Or how 'bout this – the sentence that society has given to a killer is going to be carried out? Who cares what color he is or what color the victim is – you need to get past all of that and look at the fact that this man went crazy and was shooting people and he's lucky he didn't get 3 death sentences for 3 murders that day. Just because he looks all cleaned up and wide-eyed innocent now does not take away from that day. He needs to man up and take the punishment for the crimes he knows in his soul that he committed.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Demeanor

      I guess those gleeful cheerleaders are repugnant to god. Those who feel glee just thinking about people being tormented in hell for eternity will be watching from front row seats. For you fundamentalists who don't get what I'm saying please reply and ask for clarification.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      Nathan, go to Greenland without a parka for a few days – so we don't have to worry about you comming back to society.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Enough

      Bill thinks it will erase his insecurity issues. Sad

      September 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    People like you are what's wrong with this country, you're sick...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • DoubtNoMore

      Mr Davis got his trial. The police officer didn't get his. For 22 years we have housed this person and now he must face the music. The next life should be a better one for you Mr Davis. Dont be afraid to die, your victim didn't have a choice. Remember this, "No one gets out of here alive."

      September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Geronimo, NYC

      you are sick Bill. Wake up. People like [kids like you] you are drowning America. Wake up!

      September 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rm.Davis

      May I remind you that this blog is for one to express their thoughts or opinions about diffrent matters I just happen to express mine and doing this has nothing to do with the way this Country is today you may want to talk to your local Senator or Congressman or Woman if you don't like the way they are doing things or better yet Mr.Obama

      September 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aly

      No you're what is the problem with this country.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ange

      People like who??

      September 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • satanbug

      bad very bad....humans are scary animals

      September 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • veteranman

      hell with his victims huh.....pressure from those just dont like the death penalty should not over ride what was done in a just court of law...

      September 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Alex Solzhenitsyn

    And yet again, as Antonin Scalia has held it, the US reserves the right to execute innocents. This is a sad day for the American criminal justice system and an even sadder day for those who believed in it. The reasonable doubt surrounding this case is overwhelming, and I hope it will be studied for years as an example of corruption of justice. For an archive of reporting on the case, check out Democracy Now!'s coverage, including an interview with Jesse Jackson from this morning

    September 20, 2011 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Juan Carlos de Burbon

      So you've reviewed all of the evidence against the man? Poured over every court docket? Or are you parroting what you've read in the news?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • disgusted

      Unless there were people in 1989 screaming "reasonable doubt" then chances are only recent media is drawing attention to this case at all. If he were white, we wouldn't even hear about it. I love how you people put your blinders on to damn near everything in the world so you can continue imagining that life is beautiful and great. He shot a man in the fact. He pistol whipped a homeless guy. Then shot the cop. Witnesses recant all the time - that doesn't mean any other evidence is automatically inadmissible, should be completely discounted and the person free to go out and continue their previous bad behavior. Instead of just sucking down what the media is feeding you, how about you actually sit down, research this case and then come back and post FACTS to support why he should be commuted. But just parroting the media and holding on tight to recanted witnesses is NOT enough to save this man from lethal injection.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      That's the problem with, too many bleeding heart, left wing, liberal commies. I'm going back to FOX.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      @canuck, thank you for helping to make those labels meaningless. When idiots like you throw those words around like that anyone with an IQ in double digits can see that they have no more meaning than schoolyard taunts, and you as someone too dumb to know it.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ya Think???

      @canuck – And you think FOx is much better?!? Where the hell do you think FOX gets it's information from the library. Moron!!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. hairball

    Yessirree Georgia! No one can claim they're more barbarian than y'all!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • BloodSweatNtears

      Well, except those who murder in cold blood and want clemency, Time to wise up!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard


      September 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    Another triumph for the Tea Party.

    Working hard, everyday, to take the Country back - to the 13th Century.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Wow, someone has a chip on there shoulder. What the hell does the Tea Party or any party have to do with this?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat


      September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • DingDong I hear

      Oh Jimmy! Go have a hormone shake, read a book or something.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • lou M

      The 13th century. That was a GOOD time, because we would simply execute idiots like you, and there was no gay, liberal press to decry it.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • yousogay

      Quit sucking off your boyfriend and open your eyes to reality. Life aint pretty especially when you murder a cop.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Good one. These vigilantes feel 'justice is served' as long as someone gets convicted. Their reasoning: well, he committed other crimes, so signs point to guilty. These are the same morons who were outraged that, gasp, evidence did not prove Caylees mom killed her, because they 'knew' she was gulity. You can't persuade fundamentalists and racists with facts any more than you can communicate with a reptile.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • beelzebubba

      RE: "You can't persuade fundamentalists and racists with facts any more than you can communicate with a reptile..."

      Heh, heh. I love it! They have reptile dysfunction.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • melvinslizard

      Miss Demeanor
      I'd understand you better if you started trying to make a logical argument...

      September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • jimbo

      I don't think so. Signs say you have 'reptile dysfunction'. Lucky us.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • justiceforall2

      So true.Ithought god was compassionate and knows the whole truth so why can he let an innocent man die.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris

    I'm an extremely ardent supporter of the death penalty but there's just so much doubt that here that it defies logic that he his clemency request was rejected.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
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