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. faith

    I pray this man repents and ask Jesus to forgive him.

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

      The repenting should be done by the people who allowed this to proceed.

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

      'faith' wrote:

      'I pray this man repents and ask Jesus to forgive him.'

      Jesus dislikes your holier-than-thouness and your bigotry...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  2. Nuevo Cicero

    For those of you clamoring for a new trial................................... He will get one . He will be judged by GOD once he is finally made to pay for his crime.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      Here come the bible thumpers.

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

      So will the people who killed him..........

      September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      What goes around comes around.......The board is doing the Devils work and will be joining him in the after life......

      September 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      The Board should be called Satan's troopers......That is who they follow.....

      September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rza

    Someone explain to me what this has to do with the South,O.J.,Casey Anthony or anything else except some sorry loser is goin to pay for being a loser! You people are a bunch of idiots! Supporting a man who has been hurting people over & over & then killed a cop? Your telling me you think he's innocent even tho he shot other people just prior to this? Bahahah common sense is few & far between these days! Btw, I'm from the North & you are no better than anyone in the South! There is good & bad everywhere so go back to your sheltered life & shut up cause you don't know anything!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. craypaper

    They should give everyone a Lie detector test, I would like to know for sure!

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

    Justice only means someone pays for the crime. A shame.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. GT66

    "The board has never changed its mind on any case in the past 33 years." More than being just, the system desires to be right, even if innocent men get put to death because of it.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. John

    This is not about justice but protecting the system at all costs. That is what is important. If some innocent people have to die to protect it so be it. For all those people who allowed this travesty to occur your day will come when you will receive your final judgment before the Almighty. May God Almighty show you all some mercy on your worthless souls when you stand before him.....

    September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. CBR

    Mr. Davis was convicted on eyewitness testimony. That should be a hint to the rest of us that this means of justice is not fair. When the Germans did it in the 30's and 40's we called that murder.

    The murder of Officer MacPhail should also be remembered as a cowardly act. He was a good officer doing his job and he deserves our respect. His family should and does have the our deepest sympathy and our support. However, the taking of a life is a very serious action that cannot be compensated no matter how hard we try. Killing a"killer" puts the onus the person who delivers the injection, pulls the trigger, is the hangman, or pulls the lever during an electrocution. It is fine that we give the verdict but is it fine to ask someone to kill in the name of revenge.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • lisa s.

      Very well stated.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. JoJo

    It's Sad that a Innocent man is gonna be put to death for what?? No Evidence, No Murder Weapon, No Witnesses at All. What is this World Coming to?? We Need Justice Reform and More Accountability to Our DA's and Law Enforcement Community. Something has to be Done to Correct this Issue. Please Let Mr. Davis Free. He is Innocent of All Charges!!!!

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

      It is the American way.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy two times

      Ummmm...where are you getting innocent out of this article? He shot someone in the face, pistol whipped a homeless man and shot a cop. just becuase they can't prove definatively that the bullets came from his gun you think he's innocent? The death penalty is stupid and I'm against it but this dide is guiltier than OJ. I 've read a bunch of articles about this and yet to find anything that supports his innocence.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  10. perryw

    How would you feel if he killed someone close to you? Get real! You make me sick! I want to hear from you when you have a loved one gunned down by a punk!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      The issue is whether they have the right "punk." m'kay?

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

      God forbid that would EVER happen but in my grief, the last thing I would want is more death associated with my family. I may want to kill the criminal with my OWN bare hands, but I won't and I certainly won't savor their being killed by the government, nor will it make me feel better or bring back who I lost (something many families of victims whose killers were executed confessed to feeling after the execution) Just because we have emotions like anger and revenge DOESN't mean we have to act on them, we aren't animals. Heck, even animals are more rational than that. Punishment should be living with the crime, in the full face of your conscious. And if you don't have one, then you're crazy as it is
      and killing a crazy person doesn't accomplish anything.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dan

    Seven witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony is a serious problem here. it is crystal clear Georgia's attorney general is more than a complete moron and should be charged with being a party to a murder!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Phil

    Absolutely...want to come...we got something for you.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  13. what what

    He's need's to be pushing up daisy's today thinking that wearing flander's glass's would help save him.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. El Guapo

    Perhaps he wants to go look for the Real Killer on all the golf courses of the world?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. norm

    Hes guilty... Shoot him up

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