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. Phil

    What people seem to miss is that he doesn't deny shooting a guy in the face at the pool party then pistol whipping another guy over a beer. Must then be a pure coincidence that just a few minutes later someone else with a gun shot a cop.

    Yeah, right.

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

      If he confesses that he did something wrong, then maybe it isn't totally unreasonable why he would say he didn't shoot the cop,.... was this a bad area? Did crimes happen all the time. To me, someone who admits guilt for a crime and then vehemently denies that he committed another crime tells me that he doesn't mind going to jail for what he did, and he is regretful of what he did. But to deny something when he admitted guilt for something else.... that would make me think he is not guilty. And i would probably rather get the death penalty than to spend my life in jail

      September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. Graduate Now!

    I can't wait to graduate next year, and I can move our of this damned state. This is probably THE worst state anyone can live in.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out. You are probably taking advantage of in-state tuition you moocher.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Danielle

    I think what we have here is clearly a group of individuals (clemency) board who are just not out to reveal injustice, sad My question would be how long do these folks sit on this board. Really in 33 years nothing has changed or reared it's ugly head of injustice that would prompt these folks not to act on reviewing evidence that might prove ones innocense. i am deeply disturbed by this and for the parent of the officer killed i understand you flight and fight in this matter but sounds to me as long as someone pays the ultimate cost your good, just pray this never happens to you or anyone else close and dear to you, to miss a chance to show onces innocense is just sickening.

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

      Injustice? It's only an injustice when the NAACP comes out in defense of only AAs on death row. They aren't concerned, like you, about any Caucasian on death row. If fact they're rallying for several people that all have a common denominator.

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

      tee, injustice when the NAACP gets involved are you serious. Why was the NAACP FORMED this is not a case about the NAACP IT'S ABOUT evidence. there is a reason why the NAACP exist period. It's easy for one to get angry by there presence. Deal with it just as you deal with other adversaries.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. DontHate

    I completely agree. Well said. It makes me sad to see all the posters here cheering for death. These the same people who cheered at the GOP debate? (Wolf:"Let him die?" –> Crowd: "YEAH!!!") What a disappointment.

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

    You're a racist uneducated bigot...

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

    Too much power with too few people destroys democracy!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Hang 'em high

    The only thing offensive is that we continue to pretend that these genetic throwback, testosterone-driven, musky-smelling, genetically incapable of discerning the results of their actions, sav age be asts are on par with the rest of humanity.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Leonard Skipper

      Dude, it's not nice to talke about your mother like that.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. John loves salad

    Because all Black people have the same work ethics that you've experienced? Re-read your post, and everywhere you've put black pretend it says white. Sounds pretty made up, doesn't it?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tee

    It looks like all the NAACP ralliers and all his supporters who posted here are going to be very upset at Justice finally being adminstered.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Rebecca Burden - Canada

    What a waste. While people wait for transplants, we should be saving lives with his organs .

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brad

    As God said from the mountain, "Thou Shalt Not Kill" . . . except by lethal injection.

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

    I just love people always "forget" about the victims. You noticed how Amensty did not make one mention of this, only saying this idiot was innocent?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      These people didn't forget the victim... they don't even care about the victim. To them, the victim is the criminal.

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

      There is no DNA or physical evidence. I guess any black man will do........One is the same as another..........

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

      What does it have to with supposedly undermining or forgetting the victim when you support an accused inmate where there is A LOT of doubt about his guilt/! Are you suggesting that we should just blindly execute a man who could *possibly* be innocent?

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

      It's about time this moron gets his due! Whats wrong with capitol punishment is that it isn't carried out after judgement is passed! Victims have no rights in America only criminals!

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

      People don't forget the victim. The whole notion of "victim's rights" is a farce. The victim's rights were violated when the crime was committed. That cannot be undone. What matters now are the rights of the accused. If you think that people have a right to revenge, or retribution, then I would suggest to you that you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of our criminal justice system and the way that it functions. The victim's rights are wholly irrelevant to the issue of whether or not there is doubt as to the guilt of the accused. How is the victim better served by the execution of an innocent man for the sake of revenge? That is not to say that Mr. Davis is innocent or not – I make no comment on that because i have neither seen the evidence nor heard the testimony. My point is simply that the victim's rights are not vindicated by executing an innocent man if the party responsible goes free – the victim's rights are wholly irrelevant at this point.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "I guess any black man will do........One is the same as another"_______________________________________ You guessed wrong. For you it's "any black man will not do".

      September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. CD

    How about a lie detector test.........was one ever given or did he request or refuse one?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Lie detector should be given to Satan's board members.....

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

      Doesn't matter, it wouldn't be admissible if he had because the science behind it is not reliable enough at this point. Polygraph testing is pretty much useless.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. calvin

    Only God and he know the truth. I don't believe in the death penalty. Only God has the right to take anyones life. Whether guilty or not guilty, Man should not have the right to justify killing someone else. What if this man really is innocent? She I feel for the loss of the young man killed but to glorify taking someone else life! That makes those warrenting this and wanting this as guilty as the Killer!! God Help out country with its sick twisted Devilish laws!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • ohsillycalvin

      Gods law? lol. For us not living in a fantasy world, I can say that I support the death penalty 100% when a child has been harmed. Casey Anthony got away with it, but maybe just maybe your gods law will catch up with her someday.

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

      Fhuck God, in his azz

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

      The Board members are followers of Satan.

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

      To GoF, you must be an angry elf. Your time will come bobo! PEACE.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "The Board members are followers of Satan."___________________________________________ You're just upset the NAACP came up short again. That's what happens when your argument has no substance.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Scott

    Most of you people wanting him spared the death penalty don't even care if he's innocent or not. You have your cause and its not even him. You're against a punishment. Honestly I think you are all hopelessly pampered and so useless in life that you have to find some kind of issue like saving murderers to feel like you have something to do... You want to do something constructive, go create a few jobs, already have? Go create some more. Most criminals wouldn't actually choose a life of crime if they had some kind of hope for a decent future because they can get a decent job.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Free3

      i think that your tone is not respectful to people that are free to express their own opinion. This is a free country that is founded on principals and rights. The right to live is one of them. Life in prision is a punishment. Taking someones life is not democratic at all. we are the only western country that still thinks that murder is legal and not at the same time.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
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