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. chuck

    rushing to execute people under a cloud of questionable evidence is what's deplorable! withholding evidence to jurors is deplorable! the entire GEORGIA parole board of appeals is ABSOLUTELY DEPLORABLE!!!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Finally

    Another one handled. Next.

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

    What a sad, sick country.

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

    You just made the naughty list pal. I'm taking a dump in your stocking this year.

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

    With so much obvious DNA evidence against, O J Simpson and he is aquited and evidently some resevations of the testimony against Davis, it frightens me about the justice in this country

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

    This man doesn't deserve anything. Fingerprints were found on the gun matched to the shells that were fired killing the officer. And as for the witnesses, you try remembering something that happened in 1989... especially with all these groups hounding you saying you didn't remember the incident correctly. But, that being said, even if only one witness recants, one is still enough to convict.
    The guy killed an officer, in cold blood, and was matched to the crime in a court of law by eye-witnesses and fingerprints.

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

      Actually, the murder weapon was never found, so your statement regarding fingerprint is false. Does that change your opinion?

      I thought not.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. pete


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

    If this were a white man in jail about to die for killing a cop, it wouldn't even be more than a side note in the news media (if that). Witnesses recant all the time people. It doesn't wipe away any other evidence that was presented at the time of the trial. The men and women that sat on that original jury put this person away - there's a reason for it. And I'm sorry but those of you that are bashing on GA and saying the government is racist are way out of touch with reality. Not every damn thing that happens to people is due to race just because it's in the south. If anything, there's so much reverse racism there that it's pathetic. The facts are, he got put away for the crime. It's time to pay for it. Enough with the procrastinating. Get it over with and move on.

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

      Whites can and have been executed for killing cops, and it didn't take 22 years (The Texas Seven(

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

      Not everything is about race for you, you're the race that doesn't get discriminated against. How many white cops who killed blacks while they were former klansmen are still out and free? Cecil Price, anyone? Triple murder, he got six years.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lou

    this guy is guilty as sin!! should been put down years ago. All u libs need to shut up!! hes been tried and convicted in the best justice system in the world. All u self-righteous do gooders need to get a job and stop having ur father's pay for ur miserable lives!!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      and how do you feel about Casey Anthony. Our justice system is human and they make mistakes. To say it is infallible is ludicrous. I believe the death penalty should only be reserved for serial killers, because there is a high probability that they will commit the same crime twice,

      September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Lokari

      That 'best justice system in the world' has a long history of condemning innocent men to death.

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

      there has never been a proven case of a human being thats has been executed wrongly by the US justice system. If u libs dont like it move to china!!!! KILL em all and let god sort them out!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      yeah those witches in salem sure got a nice fair trial.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Danielle

      lou " put down a long time ago" urgh this reminds me why I do not read to many columns just a bunch ignorant folks ranting why describe this human and though he is a animal. YOU too will be judged

      September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      Danielle u sound like an unemployed do gooder who is on facebook all day and has ur father pay for ur miserable life. How dare u call me ignorant!!!! U know nothing bout me!!!!

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

      "YOU too will be judged"______________________________________ Certainly not by you with spelling and grammar as atrocious as yours. We'll be "judged" one day, yes, but without having had killed someone hanging over our heads.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "and how do you feel about Casey Anthony."_______________________________________ She was "acquitted". Get it?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • kimgirl

      So ignorant!!! the best justice system in the world!! the same system where the police are allowed to play judge and jury. Where black people are almost always guilty until proven guilty, again. I am not saying in this case that he is guilty or innocent, I am saying however that with DNA testing several guilty black men have been able to prove their innocence after doing several years for crimes they did not do. They fit the profile, they where near or at the scene so the witnesses claim. I am raising three black males who are good student, good hardworking kids who have a good sense of responsibility for their actions. The sad thing is I can't teach them that the police are there to protect them when I know for a black male that just is not true.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      Kimgirl u are clearly the biggest do gooder yet. This is not about race its bout a cop killer. I give no props for adoption as much as u want to advertise this to the world. Adoption was obviously done to try to make ur self feel good and probably little to do with the kids.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • kimgirl

      what adoption you fool??? these kids are mine!!! I gave birth to them!!! Where do you see adoption !!!! how about you read with both eyes before you respond!!! Oh and raising them to to be productive citizens is about them not me. do you live under a rock??? It is always about race in this society. So sad that people like you are allowed to vote and allowed to sit on a jury oh supposed to be composed of some poor persons jury of their peers!!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. David M Neal

    He shot another man in the face right before he shot this cop. Davis is a criminal let there be no doubt about that. I wasnt there but from what I have read about this case there is NO doubt in my mind he killed that cop. So let him die like he deserves.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  11. Sum Guy

    So we're clear here..... it seems it's not disputed that he shot this Cooper guy in the face earlier in the day at a pool party?
    Shooting someone in the face is attempted murder. Not just attempted like stabbing someone, but shooting someone IN THE FACE. Really.....with 3 witnesses still pinning it on him, is it that much of a leap to believe he would shoot a cop later in the day. Either way, aren't their any actually innocent, or at least non-murderous people we could be trying to save?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. SKP

    So wait...he did shoot and injure someone. He did pistol whip someone. But oh no...that wasn't me...I didn't kill someone?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. intelleligen woman

    were any of you at the crime scene wen any of this occured? ...any doubt over someone guilt should eliminate the death not surprised tho...he is a black man...only white people would say the things they are saying....nothing has changed in this country..killing this man wont bring back her son....some call it justice..i call it revenge with the government to support it......people deciding who lives and who dies...without actually being there......smh....this reminds me of the villain in movies going around doing harm to people..but wen his turn comes he is begging for mercy...for all of you who have no sympathy of another man losing his life...i would like to see you when your name is called and you have to defend your deeds committed in your life...

    September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Cat

      I think you should come up with a more appropriate name for yourself. Clearly there is some false advertisement at work here.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Intellegent Man

      First of all, it's Intellegent, not intelleligen. Secondly, it's when, not wen. It has nothing to do with the race, so please stop trying to pull your race card. He shot the man in the face @ a pool party, beat a homeless man for no reason and it's hard to believe that when the cop shows up, he'll shoot him 3 times and stand over him? Doesn't matter what color you are ... it's the people that told on him. They wait 17 years to recant their stories?? Okay ... ?? If it were YOUR son that this man shot, being white, black, hispanic, asian, europian ... whatever ... you'd want to see this rest as well. Good day.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. Wake-up

    Anyone who is involved in carrying out a death penalty is clearly an accessory to murder him/herself!!! That goes for the judge, jury, & the goon(s) who actually inject or gas the victim!!! Killing another human being is still murder, despite the fact that someone in a black robe says it's okay!!!

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

      What, no concern for the victim? You must have something in common with this killer.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    He's VERY DEFINITELY guilty of multiple other attempted murders and 98+% guilty of this murder. Our justice system should not be affected by celebrity clamoring, but all to often it is. I'm glad Georgia stuck to its guns.
    BTW, the article's statement that Amnesty International and an Anti Death Penalty supported clemency is of no value - they oppose EVERY death penalty. As far as the NAACP, they oppose every death penalty of anyone of color.

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