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. Jdub91

    So let me get this straight, the vast majority of the witnesses recant and/or say they were coerced, but his execution will be justice? Absolutely moronic.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Glenn

    Because Blacks can't move forward w/o constantly being in victim mode

    September 20, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  3. Lsaguy

    I I wish the death penalty proponents would consider this. After 22 years living in safety on death row, Mr. Davis will suffer a few moments of anxiety and be out of misery forever. Is this really justice? If he had been given life without parole 22 years ago he would have spent those years living in hell on earth with the other depraved animals fearing for his safety every single day. If he had one bit of humanity he might have spent his time telling troubled youth that this is what awaits them if they elect to follow a life of crime. As it is now he will die as a martyr to some, as a villain to some, and a total loss to all.

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

      that is absolutely perfectly said.

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

    When you execute someone on skimpy and partially discredited evidence, do injustice to all, need to make distinctions and be absolutely certain. Whats the rush, this country if filled with bloodlust, doesnt matter whether guilty or not. Shame on the state of Georgia.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  5. Extremophil

    Cheer up, Troy. You killed a cop and then manipulated the system for 22 years, managing to get thousands of naive morons to rally behind your "innocence". Game over, smart guy.

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

      dear extreme, are u aware that most of the "witnesses" have recanted?
      let's hope a family member of yours gets railroaded, would love to hear your views then.
      your heart is full of hatred and that is the saddest part for you.

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

      I don't know whether he's innocent or not innocent, but what I do know is there is ONLY one difference from life in prison without parole and death, and that's you can't get back a death, once the person is dead, there is no fixing that, he's dead.
      Of course, you're smarter than everyone else, and you never make mistakes, like out Criminal Justice System, never makes mistakes. LOL..

      Our Criminal Justice System is also hypocritical, we know it makes mistakes, because we have all seen them recently in Florida, and in the past in California. And it's possible Georgia could be killing an innocent man!!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  6. SavannahCopKid

    God will deliver the justice...I am just glad that the Board of Pardons and Paroles had the guts to speed up the meeting. This guy is guilty. It seems telling that every judge and panel that looks at ALL of the evidence comes to the same conclusion.

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

    This gentleman was found guilty by 12 citizens. Last week when I read the people who were trying to save him it was the same old do gooder liberal crowd.The pope, Jimmy Carter, amanesty international.

    They have there own agenda. Justice is not it. Mr Davis has had every appeal, and every hearing afforded to him by the state of Georgia.

    This is not some good ole boys with a rope, it is the Justice system doing it`s job. Is the death penalty fair? is it moral?

    Reasonable people can argue these points. My 2 cent opinion an ultimate crime deserves and ultimate punishment.

    What kind of a man murders another man in cold blood? Time for Mr. Davis to pay the price.

    Man has a right to execute him. God will forgive him if he wants forgiveness and does what he needs to do to have salvation.

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

      I hear you...but weren't those 12 people using testimony to convict him from people who have since recanted and have said he is innocent? That they were forced to give the testimony by the police. Not just one...many of them?

      That does';t raise some questions?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. perryw

    The kkk would have done hung his guilty ass! hahaha

    September 20, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Hang 'em high

      I'd even buy the rope

      September 20, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. jennyy

    here in Texas we chain his type to the back of pickups and drag them until body part fall off!!

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

    If guilt is not 100% Crystal Clear then, NO ONE, should ever be executed. It appears that there are lots of doubts here. Once a life is taken its as final as it will ever be. I find this a little less than Intelligent that a Georgia group makes the final decision on this Georgia case. I wonder if this will go to the US Supreme Court next... You kind of get the feeling that Georgia thinks they are as Powerfull as Texas or Florida...

    September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      Jeez man...do a little homework before making idiotic comments. This case has been before the US Supreme Court twice. The first time they ordered the US District Federal Court to review the case and take testimony. A 174 page opinion came out from this court denying that the recantations or "new evidence" would be enough to overshadow Davis' guilt. Davis again appealed to the US Supreme Court who DENIED the opportunity to review it again...thus washing their hands of it. If you wanna blame someone, blame the FEDS. They could have stopped this.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. redmonde

    I don't know if he is innocent or guilty for I haven't read ALL the details of the trial, but for the parole board to have never changed a sentence in 33 YEARS is amazing. I live in Texas and to see how Dallas is freeing the innocent who was convicted makes me wonder how many innocent people have been put to death in GA and other places. We are human and do make mistakes, surely this board is not perfect.

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

    I have no clue if he is guilty or innocent...but there does seem to be plenty of evidence to support taking the death penalty off the table

    September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. 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.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. Victoria

    This is a government-sanctioned lynching. Black people, are you listening? Do you really see what is going on? Brothers and sisters, do you see what is happening?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. smartypants

    If this guy is truly innocent as his fan base asserts, then he should be let out of prison and be awarded a large sum of money. Why aren't the protesters not demanding this?

    As usual, Blacks who don't want other Blacks to be execute are teaming up with White liberals who don't want anyone to be executed.

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