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. Rafael

    In this country the racist people never is going to stop.The people have to look to jesus and then they are going tobe differents.if the autority don't have the suficient proff,why they are going to killhim? .that is not justice.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  2. capnmike

    "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.".....So the dirtbag is a dirtbag anyway, and deserves what he gets. It's time we took out the trash.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • ClayManBob

      In this country, we don't kill people just for being a "dirtbag." You should be ashamed of yourself.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. Q

    I hope the guilt of each family member drives them to kill themselves...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Amy

    Someone help me out here - did he or did he not shoot Cooper in the face and then pistol-whip a homeless man? Is the MacPhail murder the only thing in question here, or all the events of that evening? Did Cooper identify him as the man who shot him in the face? Who drove him from the party to the convenience store and is that one of the witnesses who recanted?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • GG

      I think Davis was charged with Shooting Cooper in the face and pistol whiping Larry Young. It sounds like Redd Coles was involved in this. It wreaks with reasonable doubt. I"m a proponent of the death penalty, but there can be zero reasonalble doubt. This man deserves a retrial.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
    • AdamCJ

      Well don't expect CNN to properly report on this story or provide crucial details like that. CNN's goal is to feed the sheep with BS and keep them distracted by shocking headlines and sound bytes. Sound byte Nation. No substance to anything they report on. Then when a story loses its energy they let it die like Casey Anthony.
      Pathetic reports. Not enough information.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. yeltzin

    Well heck – most folks truly innocent would volunteer for a polygraph test. Such are not admissible in court but authorities and the public at large credit them. Odds are even those who recanted wouldn't dare to take a polygraph to check the veracity of their claims. It is the truly wicked who would champion a man who murders innocents simply because they scorn police. It is an evil mind that believes the officer's mother would prefer an innocent man be executed than to apprehend the "real killers".

    September 20, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • ClayManBob

      Polygraph tests have been proven to be extremely unreliable, and there have been plenty of controlled tests performed where the results have been shown to be completely wrong. Just search the internet. I would never take a polygraph test, and anyone who would is a fool.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  6. Laura

    Wow O.J. and Casey Anthony go free but Troy has to die. Great justice system...Where is our President in this? Supreme court at least...why do we have a supreme court? Should be for cases like this. Very sad story.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Jerry

      Well actually O.J. is in jail in Nevada serving a long prison sentence. It's not for that double murder but it seems he just can't stay out of trouble.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      The Supreme Court of the United States reviewed this case and DENIED his request to hear his latest appeal. This came after the Federal District Court said that despite the recantations and "new evidence" Davis was still guilty! Do a little research people....you read one story that is lacking mounds of information and jump to a conclusion.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sean

    Put the race card back in the deck. When things don't go your way it isn't because of your skin color.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. Aggie

    Most of the south and they are the bible toting christains. Doesn't 22 years give you enough time to forgive. As for the victims family I know they are in church every sunday advocating the right to life! such hypocracy.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      Hope that no one in your family gets murdered; then you can see if 22 years is enought time.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveinCincy

      ahhh...so 22 years is the time it takes to forgive the killing of a family member. Thanks for the heads up.
      Doofis...go back to your shanty.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. theDude

    All you bleeding hearts can thank Clinton for appointing judge Moore who denied the appeal. Troy Davis has had due process. Don't mistake you're disapproval for injustice. We all like it when an innocent man goes free, but this is not an innocent man.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. bobby

    just another chapter in the destruction of this God forsaken country.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    How is it a clemency board? IT"S NEVER GIVEN CLEMENCY. I hope they die in a car crash on the way home from the execution.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      I hope you don't have children Bill. Very disturbing wish. Also, I guess you are getting all of your information regarding this case from these sorely lacking CNN stories. I happen to think that the Board of Pardons and Parole might happen to have a little more knowledge and information regarding this case than you do from your limited knowledge gained from wall posts. However you skew it, the US Supreme Court DENIED Davis' appeal after the US FEDERAL District Court upheld his guilt. Here is a tip...Stop wishing bad things happen to other people and do a little research on your own. Oh and blame the FEDS, they could have stopped this.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kaye

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

    All but one of the “recants” state that the statements they gave at the time of the murder were typed up by the investigating officers after and during their interviews and that they signed them without reading them.

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

    It has only happened several years after the conviction that they have spoken to members of Davis’ legal team, family and supporters that they NOW claim to have given false statements. It is transparently clear that the convicted murder’s supporters have manipulated these witnesses into saying they did not understand what they were saying during the investigation OR during the trial.

    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 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert (Atlanta)

      Relevant points – but where did you get your information?
      Would be good to know!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • ClayManBob

      But if they were so easily manipulated by the lawyers, as you say, why would they not also have been easily manipulated by the police? Can't have it both ways.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. perryw

    He killed a cop! He should have been put to death a long time ago!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. cindy a

    Some of you seem a little mentally disturbed yourself. Wonder what the odds are that a man shoots one man in the face and a few minutes later the same man pistol whips another man and minutes later at the same place a police officer gets shot 3 times with one of those shots being 'in the face" and you honestly think it wasn't the same man who did it? Wow, interesting!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. jason

    Justice should nt be prejudicial. Casey Anthony got off with so many arrows pointing to her. Now a black man in the state of georgia can get executed with all the hands pointing away from him and in another direction...In other states, white mothers who intentionally and maliciously killed thier children get off (andrea yates), the white cops who beat Rodney king on tape get off...America has such a long way to go to get beyond the historical color codes of the South...
    If this man is innocent and he is executed, i pray mercy on those who knew and still allowed it to happen

    September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • boskoo

      HE IS GUILTY.

      He deserves to die. If he were to fess up and ask forgiveness, I would feel sorry for him. He is just like Gary Graham is Texas several years ago, a murdering brutal thug who deserves to die.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • John-ur-a-tool

      Yes it is all about race,. You're an idiot!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Txbob

      There are major differences in the cases you cited... First in this case, there are "witnesses", whether you want to believe them or not, they testified... In the Anthony case, there were no witnesses, and actually no evidence what so ever to back up prosecution case... In Rodney King case, the officers did get off in state court but were convicted of civil rights violations by federal court... And as far as Andrea Yates, it was without refute from all sides, that she was mentally incompetent...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
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