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. Jake

    Obviously the officer "acted stupidly" when confronting Davis. I don't see how Holden and Obama can allow this racist ruling to stand. Next they will be hanging folks from trees again.

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

      Jake, any chance that you're black ? Its the only explanation for your post.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Hang 'em high

      Don't mind Jake, anything short of allowing blacks to murder whites and claim their property is the equivalent of "lynching" in his black supremacist mind.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • USMC88

      @ B+ You are a fool. What does being Black have to do with this statement? It is stupid regardless of your race. You simply perpetuate the long standing ignorance of many in America, that African Americans can't convict their own. Look at the facts and you'll see the reality is that White America has the most trouble with this. Ask the hundreds of Blacks who were found not guilty for crimes committed against blacks to include murder despite overwhelming evidence pointing to their guilt.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Jake the officer acted stupidly when confronting him? Really?? I hope his death is a painful death...

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

      The only fools are those who attended the 300 rallies supporting this loser.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • B+

      @USMC88, the legal system is implmented by humans and humans are unfortunately human. Which means, there will be mistakes made over time. I'm sure there have been mistakes made that have hurt blacks, but the same applies to whites, hispanics, asians........ Until the black community (as a whole) starts taking responsibilty for its problems instead of trying to find someone else to blame, it won't take steps it needs to take to address the real problems.

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

      So, the majority nof the original jury was black, all appeals had blacks involved, and the board is majority black and the decision is racist? I though blacks could not be racist.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |

      I don't know if it's racially motivated or not, but it is wrong. Especially after the Casey Anthony trial and the reasons she wasnt should also apply to Troy Davis...because 7 out of 9 witnesses recanting a story is way more than a shadow of's just wrong.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Seth

    Justice FINALLY served!

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

    There are mothers who are in denial of the heinous acts their children have committed and they maintain the position of support to the very end. The fact his own mother has stated she is very convinced he is guilty says a mouth full. In the same breath it is definitely a tragedy if he is an innocent man, goodness, who will ever know the truth especially if he is executed. Well, like dozens of other people who were wrongly executed and found innocent years later, we may see his name scrolling quickly down the tv screen during an anti-death penalty commercial...then who in the justice system is going to die for that murder...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • JayNYC

      What in the world are you talking about?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • GT66

      And that's the entire point behind resisting the death penalty. There are no do overs and it creates in the system a need to be "right" over being just because if they admit they are not always right then they admit the system has been used to commit murder and the whole system loses it moral platform. The fact that the system is being bent away from being just and merely being right is evidence of a structural flaw – that flaw being the death penalty.

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

      Wrong mom.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • collins61

      Try reading the article while awake this time. It's the victims mother who is convinced of Davis's guilt, NOT the culprits mother. I am so glad you are not my lawyer or doctor.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. zzzzzz

    I there is not enough evidence to link him and the murder, then he should not be executed. He deserves a retrial. I know, our tax money should be spent elsewhere, but this is a human life we're talking about. With better forensic methodologies than we have in the 80s, we can be find out for sure, without a doubt, if he is guilty, or innocent.
    It's an old case, so I sure hope evidence have not contaminated....

    September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. Joel

    Hurry it up. We are going broke paying for these nasty things in prison. We pay for food, drinks, entertainment, and housing. If you give them life sentences they will die in prison, just end them now and save the tax payers money.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
  6. The Joker

    Sounds like Georgia is the only place in the world where justice is perfect – their "parole board" has not reversed a death penalty in 33 years!
    If there was ever a case for abandoning judicial killing, this is it. With 7 of 9 discredited witnesses, the guy deserves a retrial, since there is probable causes to believe a miscarriage of justice would occur if they kill him.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Jacknyd

      Some people will recant if the reward is good enough.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Glenn

    What does it matter? We do know that he shot a couple of other people before the "alleged" shooting of the officer, proving he is just another violent Black. Killing him rids society of another criminal, regardless of whether he killed the officer.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. mabel floyd

    what happened to my comment?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ron

    This guy committed murder and was convicted of it then his appeals failed to provide any evidence to the contrary and now that he's finally about to face justice everybody subscribes to this propaganda campaign put on by the media and the naacp the fact is 12 people convicted this guy and then the same 12 people recommended the death penalty not the state of ga.

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

    Shame on the proponents of the death penalty. You bring shame on the entire country. This execution will do nothing - absolutely nothing - to "fix" anything. It only demonstrates to the world that the American public is bloodthirsty, primitive, and immoral. I want nothing to do with you.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Phillip


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

      I never read rude, all caps comments.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. catherine

    in this winter you need a ugg boots,it's warn and comfortable.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. EGB1

    This crusade is ridiculous. This criminal had already shot someone in the face, and then pistol-whipped a homeless man within hours of murdering the officer. I suppose that his supporters think it's a wild coincidence that another mindlessly violent person happened to be in the same location when Davis' third crime of the day was committed.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. OldGoat

    The [parole] board has never changed its mind on any case in the past 33 years.

    That statement is pretty telling. It sounds like good old Southern prejudice is still alive and well.

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

      Sounds like black racist are alive and strong in this country.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Hoofleau

    If Anne MacPhail is going to grandstand to the press, then she should be at Davis' execution. I do have a major problem with the seven witness recant and the way this is being handled. Nothing surprises me when it comes to Georgia government. His execution should be based on beyond a shadow of a doubt. Georgia's governor should have the power to veto this decision.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • redmonde

      Yep, I agree with the "beyond a shadow of doubt".

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

      Welcome to Georgia. Can I take your order please?

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