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. MikeSA

    This is really wrong. There is enough serious doubt over this man's guilt, that he should not be facing execution.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Ronald Hussein Reagan

      a damn shame – but humans throughout History LOOOVE executions.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      There's no question about his guilt in the other murder he commited where he shot the guy at the pool party in the face.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      There isnt enough dount! If he were innocent he would have been let go along time ago! Everyone is always playign the race card!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bear R U

      There are 3 things in life to succeed, A wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone. The liberals are far from having any. Just hug a tree, be happy, all you need is love, love , love......stuck in the 60s.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • scribler

      I agree. But this is exactly why I oppose the death penalty. There is too much chance that an innocent person could be executed. And that is a mistake that should never be made.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DaveinSC

    Finally, after 20+ years taxpayers won't have to support this killer anymore.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      I hope a court system executes you for jaywalking.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveinSC

      actually they will probably get your mom for walking the street but it will not be jaywalking.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyler

      That retort made me laugh so hard. Game point sir.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • NcMomma

      What if that was a member of your family...Would you feel the same way......God says to forgive....I know it will be hard on both families. But whose conscience will it affect. Of course you can sit back and say that, you are not in their shoes.....

      September 20, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Intellegent Man

      Yes, GOD does say forgive but, I don't think he was saying that it makes it right to KILL SOMEONE!!! Wake up.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Unintelligent Man

      Case in point, Intelligent Man. NcMomma's statement had more to do with the *response* of the victim's family than with the offense of the killer.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Arick

      It costs more the execute a man than to keep him in prison for life. You would know that if you did any research before spouting off like a flaming retard.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • anappo

      Glad this isnt Texas. On average, an execution is done every 15 days.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbo

      And when some people in prison are found innocent, how strongly do you feel. I'm guessing revenge is what drives your soul... not justice. May it happen to you or your family or friends, fool.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • jimbo

      Ah yes, South Carolina. The same easily brainwashed fundamentalist inbred morons who bought the twisted dogma that god endorsed slavery which led to the civil war (huh uh... it wuz about states rights AND doin' gods work to keep slaves on plantations) and all those needless deaths. Make sure ya'll nominate another Texass doofus for presiident, ya hear?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • anappo

      So Davis is guilty of shooting a man and pistol whipping another. I guess this is ok in your neighborhood? Davis says he knows who did it, why didnt he say who did it? cause it was him. The only other person there was Red Coles. When davis had his appeal time in court, Coles was in court but was never brought to the stand? Why? Please read the 172 page report from Judge Moore. People want to paint a different story of doubt. he had his appeal time. Now witnesses feel guitly and want to recant their story because a life is in their conscience.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Luke

    Imagine if you were innocent, sitting on death row for 20 years...Maybe he's not innocent...we will NEVER know until we know.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. bill wilcox

    thanks for the compliment

    September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Marv

      suck it, Bill. you're clearly a foolish bigot.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • satanbug

      Bill from Stamford?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • just me

      You tell 'em Bill !!

      September 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scottish Mama

    That guy that shot the pastor and his assistant pastor had killed his first wife and and was released on probation in the mid 80's, now he killed his second wife and the pastor and assistant are still in the hospital. Go figure.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • chris

      That is because that man was white and this one is black. Only a white man gets a way with that in the south ... oh wait never mind.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    Jim: you're a moron. What does the Tea Party or the Democrats or liberals or conservatives have to do with this?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      The tea party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is funny as this all comes down to party lines. You have to be a moron to think that. Justice will be served tonight as get out your popcorn and enjoy the show.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. yusuf

    I believe strongly since there is no physical evidence linking him to the killing, plus most of the witness have recanted their initial statements, it will be a complete injustice to go ahead with the execution, cause to me , with no solid evidence linking him , a life of an innocent young man will be brought to an end..cruel and total injustice. The world should kick against it!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      Just like the life of an innocent police officer was taken right?

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

      There is physical evidence. The shell casing are all the same. He PLEAD guilty to shooting the firt person in the face. His own admission. Then the exact same shell casing are around the dead cop. Yes, the analysis of the bullets themselves were inconclusive, but have you ever seen what happens to a bullet when it's fired? It's a mangled mess. But we know it came from the same shell. That's basically like saying we can't prove you were in a certain place, but we know the shirt you're wearing was there. And in none of the recanted statements has anyone suggested or said he did NOT do it. What they are recanting are insignificant details, like whether he ran east or southeast or if his shoes were Nike or Addidas. 90% of this case is airtight and now after tons of shenanigans, the defense has managed to find 10% that isn't. They have no other explanations and can't disprove any of it, they just have a tiny bit of slight of hand. Read all the fact, like the clemency board did, and you'll come to the same conclusion – he's GUILTY.

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

      The weapon of the crime was never found, fyi. Talk about your shirt being left there.
      Do you know how many people were innocented in the past 20 years after having been wrongfully convicted on the base of a confession ?
      I suggest reading the book "The Innocent Man," by John Grisham, for a good example of how the American justice system works.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. girlchicago

    This man is innocent!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      Everyone in prison thinks their innocent! He isnt innocent- he shot someone at a party, pistol whipped a homeless man at a gas station and an innocent police office just happened to be shot inthe face at the same location. Just stop it you sound stupid!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dorlyn

    Wow...SAD news!!!! VERY sad!!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. realitychk

    see ya!~

    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. ladydaisy

    and casey anthony is set free. did anyone say contradiction(s)?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • BWK

      They couldn't get anyone to come forward to witness anything on Casey Anthony. I'm white and I wanted to see her fry. Karma will get her sooner or later....

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

      Casey Anthony wasn't set free by a clemency board, a jury did that. Big difference.

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

      I see partial justice. Casey could not be proven guilty so had to be let go. Revenge lost, the justice system (innocent until PROVEN guilty) won. This man is getting killed for revenge. There is no certain proof that he killed the cop. Those who 'know' he is guilty are condemning him to death based on their feelings (which can range from a desire for revenge instead of justice to outright racism). That is not justice.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rupi

    so these witnesses waited this long to recant their statements....not buying it!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • DaveinSC

      maybe these wittnesses should be brought up on charges of perjury for lying under oath!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      Finally ...someone is saying something intelligent on this forum. Thank you!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jenniffer

      No they didn't "wait" to recant... this has been going on for years. Why is it that people refuse to do any research on anything then want to comment based on a few paragraphs in a news story? Half the time they don't even FINISH the story!

      they just say "Oh well, he must be guilty because our cops are always on the up and up and they would never ever do anything wrong like coerce statements...and prosecutors would never hide evidence to get convictions to get re-elected"

      Thats why 24 people were exonerated from Illinois Death Row. Thats why cops in Chicago are in prison. Thats why there have been 273 exonerations from prison based on DNA EVIDENCE by the Innocence Project alone. They have so many cases and the prosecutors fight them every step of the way, even refusing to allow DNA to be tested that could prove innocence!

      Study the subject and it will turn everything you think you know about our "justice system" completely around.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sorrowmate

    atleast he's gonna have quick death rather than dying daily for life imprisonment is horrible...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    he's a cop killer, he should have been put down a long time ago

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Kristy

      Why did we wait so long again?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Dav

      The reason why it took so long is because they know he is innocent. If it was clear cut he would have been executed long ago. Poor witness accounts and a ballistics report that came back negative should clear this guy. He is innocent no doubt in my mind. A sad day for justice that is for sure.....btw Kristy you ma'am are an ignorant racist cow

      September 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MCR

    The death sentence should not be carried out unless there is absolutely no doubt about the convicted person's guilt. There is doubt here. He should not be executed. His sentence should be commuted to Life and the case should be reopened. If it turns out he is innocent he should be freed and the real killer should be found. Those calling for his execution despite the doubt want revenge and don't seem to care about whether he is guilty. That's not justice.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • For Sure

      There is no doubt and never has been. Don't just take his supporters (who are really just anti death penalty and couldn't care less about him or if he's guilty or not – they just want a poster boy), at their word. Look at the actual evidence (like the parole board did) and you'll see there is zero reasonable doubt. He's guilty. All this recanted testimony 20 yrs later is not material. No on has suggested someone else did it and no has said he didn't do it. What they are recanting are insignificant details like whether they were wearing a red shirt or blue that night. It's nothing. Keep in mind he already CONFESSED to shooting the first person and the exact same bullet casings were used to shoot the cop. This is not a coincidence.

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

      You obviously don't know the case "ForSure". Since the beginning people have said that Sylvester "Redd" Coles was the person fighting with the homeless man over a beer and that he did it. He is one of the two people who didn't recant his testimony because he would implicate himself. He was the one who went to the cops the next day and told them Troy Davis did it.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
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