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. Renee

    i think he deserves a new trial at the least. It would be a real crime if an innocent man was put to death. The justice system doesn't always work as history has shown.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      The real issue is that the southern states including Texas is so racial as to convicting blacks whether they do the crime or not. Texas has killed many innocent men. Just look at how they talk about Obama, if you think they are not racist.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  2. Lem

    I love how the people here rely on the media to tell them the facts, when in actuality you know nothing about the case. CNN and other sources just report the surface of the case, when most of the information is not reported.

    You make judgement based on what the media tells you.

    The courts obviously think this man is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and I am sure they have enough evidence to think this way. You (the reader), on the other hand, have no say in the case. You have not seen all the evidence in the case. You are not involved in the court of law. All you can do is make assumptions based on what the media tells you.

    Therefore, your opinions are invalid.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Skegeeace

      The opinions of VOTERS (who are ALSO readers) counts- and I'll bet you wouldn't be saying that if you were in Troy Davis's shoes. You would probably HOPE there'd be public outcry against being railroaded by the justice system. You're on MARS if you think the courts are never wrong.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      Same thing can be said to you. How do YOU whether or not the court is making a sound decision in executing the man?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Curtis

      The court of law has proven itself to be unable to handle it's duty time after time. Are you kidding me? We live in a place where the price of your lawyer is the biggest factor in your guilt.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert (Atlanta)

    Vengeance does not equal justice.

    It interesting how many are so adamant about killing someone they do not know based on facts of which they are not aware. Why does executing someone make you feel so good?

    Just curious...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. Squid

    This man has been on death row for 20 years. He'll likely die of natural causes before he's brought to justice

    September 20, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Andy W

    So he admits shooting the first man in the face, then pistol whipping the homeless man; The defense is now trying to twist the testimony indicate doubt. This man had a fair trial and was found guilty, nothing that the defense has used proves the jury was wrong. This case has been reviewed and reviewed, carry out the jury's sentence.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake M

      No, the county alleges that, based on the testimony of the other suspect. Who, by the way, was witnessed by police beating the homeless man with the gun in question.

      Now do you understand the doubt?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. hhiwade

    Troy Davis has taken advantage of the appeal process to its full extent. His last appeal was heard by a judge who determined there was no credible new evidence submitted to overturn the death penalty decision. His defence attorney claimed he had a witness who actually knew the killer of officer MacPhail but failed to present the witness during the final about a criminal act!!! The jury has spoken....the appeal process has's time to pay the piper...the citizens of Georgia have supported this man way too long.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. John Wright

    Do the lights dim when they electrocute someone in Georgia? Let's have a light dimming party and celebrate the elimination of this animal!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Fielding Mellish

    Killing simply begets more killing...let's get rid of the death penalty.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. vincent


    September 20, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. Greg Gilbert

    The press always does this on death row cases were there is a call that it is wrong. They examine were there is doubt but mostly leave alone the evidence that still stands. This case could of had someone that knew him still pointing the finger at him and I bet the press would never bring it up.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. andrew

    this sucks.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. Frank Nigliazzo

    It must have been exceedingly crowded at McPhall's murder site with all of the people here testifying that Davis is guilty of killing him. To others, it seems to be just fine to execute a man who might be innocent because he probably committed and got away with past crimes. To others still Davis should have left the ignorant South for the more sophisticated North...such as South Philly or South Boston I suppose. No wonder our country is in such terrible shape if this represents our collective critical thinking ability.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  13. Elmo Riffcan

    Here is the deal people he's a dead man. For God and country send him to the war zone with orders to kill terrorists or be killed here. The pro-death penalty people get what they want, he can never come back to this country and he has to kill to survive over there and we got rid of him. For God and country!
    Something might come out of this that benefits our the victim(s) he destroyed here. Please someone in the White house let the President read this. We now would have death row inmates sent to the war zone and left there forever to fight for our country and we get rid of them and the financial responsibility here. If they do not want to do it then the death penalty here.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bryan

      Would you require this of all innocent men?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • vxrt

      That's how Europe sent all its prisioners to Australia and America, many years back.....

      September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Allen Forrest

      I just wonder if he was a white man with over 1 million signutures would GA (once home to kkk) still kill him or just let him sit in prison???? #justsaying

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Sir Newton

      I would have sentenced him to death for the first shooting... Before he is put death. He should be beaten with in inchs of death. Eye for an Eye. Why should law abiding tax payers have to pay to keep this monster alive?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • cruelhonesty

      Allen Forrest....someone should revoke your "black card"...its people like you that make me sick...sit back, relax and collect your welfare check...dont worry, Obama will take care of you!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Realtalker1

      That's kind of crazy but I do actually think there should be some kind of voluntary program for violent offenders where they are allowed to participate in combat during a time of war. I mean we are talking about some of the craziest violent people on the planet here. They can serve a purpose for our country and actually do some good. That's good for them and us. And there is kind of a redeeming factor in it to. You can even incentivize them by a reduction of prison time or something like that.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Eloe

      cruelhonesty "Black card"?? Are you kidding? You make fun of Obama for finally doing something about welfare instead of trumpeting the same old corporate American white tune of the wealthiest who keep investing in China, and
      you think you are not racist? Of course they would have granted clemency if the guy was white.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      Elmo , You are ignorant and need prayer

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Theresa

    Move forward?! The US is one of the few "civilized" (I use that term loosely) countries still murdering people for crimes, how is THAT moving forward?? Take a look sometime at the numbers of prisons, inmate populations in this country, then tell me you're moving forward!!! That should be the States' motto, "killem all, let God sort'em out". All because the country is too racist & lazy to look up the word "rehabilitation", and put it to work. Murdering b@#$%&*s.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • John-ur-a-tool

      Cop killers aren't able to be rehabbed.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      not everyone is able to be rehabilitated

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

      I totally agree Jen....even if you kill anyone can u say them sitting in a cell is going to rehabilitate them....u will never know if he would do it again...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike R.

    For all you hungry for blood: What does killing this man solve? What is gained by killing him? Vengeance? Certainly not justice.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Lem

      I would love to hear your opinion on the death penalty when someone who YOU love dearly is murdered.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • John-ur-a-tool

      What type of justice did the dead police officer get?

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

      So what about being in prison – that's nothing but vengence also. So in your happy world we should just ask him nicely not to kill anyone again and give him a free toaster and send him off into the world (all without hurting his self esteem)? Life is about balance and justice is part of that. Kill people and you will be killed back. That's balance, justice, and karma all in one. And it is a deterrent if we'd use it right and not have it take 20 yrs to finally carry out the punishment.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Eloe

      Lem I would love to hear your opinion on the death penalty when someone who you love is wrongly accused of murder, and awaits execution, although they are innocent.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • norm

      U kill someone for no reason n end their life...why u deserve to live

      September 20, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Col Angus

      It stops repeat offenders...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
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