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. John

    The Board should be called Satan's troopers......That is who they follow..

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

      You're just angry because this killer is finally going to get served Justice.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • David Tremblant

      You're right John. That is the level with which to look at this decision. All of the human garbage spouting their bilge here will also have to pay for their sin and it is coming soon and when the hurricanes and fires come, the hands that would have pulled them from the floods or the hands that would have given them water with which to douse the fire will not be around because they will have killed them in satanic sacrifices such as the Board is watering at the mouth for tomorrow night... Ignorant racist arrogance will meet cosmic justice and Teabagger thinking will be no more. Haleluyah Brother!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. kapinatl

    Over 2000 years ago a man who was also accused was put to death by a crowd who shouted "crucify him" much like what I have read above. I am curious as to how many of you who feel this man should die attend Church? How many of you stand there and profess your deep devoted Christianity, yet can spew such vile and insane comments. I know reading this probably means little to you, but I can only feel sorry for the emptiness that is in your soul. Perhaps someone harmed you and therefore, you have not healed. Putting a man to death, who may or may have not committed a crime, will not help justify your anger!. Get help from somewhere and only pray that this travesty of justice does not befall YOUR OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE. If that is at all possible, with the HATE AND ANGER you have exhibited from your comments.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. 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.

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

      But while serving life in prison he can hurt a great many people. So those people who maybe stole a car radio or sold pot deserve to die by his hand... but the actual murderer doesn't?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  4. gemdive

    You sir are an idiot

    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lisa

    Why is it that the NAACP and all kinds of people rights groups come out and show their support for things such as this but when reports come out about how bad we are doing in school, no one holds rallies or throws their support behind our children and their futures in this country of ours.
    Stop choosing senseless battles to fight! Taxpayers dollars once again wasted on a bunch of foolishness!! He made his life choice when he chose a life of crime!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. KareemCBarclown

    One big problem for the economy is all the whites who have jobs because of affirmative action. They slow things down, make mistakes, and generally act like molasses in an engine. If you've had experiencing working with whites, you know what I mean. If you haven't worked with whites, you should give it a try so that you can form a knowledgable opinion about it.

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

      What has your hate speech have to do with this story?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. keith beard

    Well he shot someone at a party pistol whipped a bum at a store, but a few blocks from that in Savannah GA in 89', there were just people ready to kill cops left to right. There must have been 4 other people shot in that same hour in that same neighborhood. So and primate with a pistol could have been responsible. But not this one who was actively on a violent rampage. He is the innocent primate, besides the original shooting and beating of homeless man but hes guilty of that none is arguing that, we are just arguing he killed the white cop because he is the only one that died. And the one that doesn't really matter in the first place.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    So Casey Anthony kills her kid but evidence isn't there so she's innocent. Troy Davis supposedly shoots a cop, evidence isn't there and he's guilty. Things that make you got "Hmmmmmmmm.........."

    September 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. me

    May God have mercy on your soul Mr Davis. You took a life and ruined many...and were convicted of those crimes. Now it's time to answer for those decisions you made. It's gonna be real hot!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. IggyDad

    This execution will diminish us all. When the government kills a man in the name of the people, we are all tainted.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Free3

    We cannot proclaim our selfs as a democratic country, and bring democracy to other countries and condemn other countries for approving death penalty if we have it in our own home. Let's fix what's broken, let's replant what's rotten.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. David Tremblant

    This decision is major disservice to this country – equal to high treason and should be punished the same way that they propose to punish Troy. The amount of karma this racist decision will add to this country's already very heavy load will bring about earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires and all form of disasters and suffering. When that happens I don't want to hear the fascist-racists crying about the effects because they have it all coming and then some – now get used to cosmic justice you redneck low-lives!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • mrmynor

      He was convicted by a majority black jury. Not one decision in the myriad appeals decisions in this case have even remotely addressed the race of the accused. How do you arrive at the conclusion that race has anything to do with the present situation? If he were white, would you still think this was a racist decision based on the facts that have come out and the manner in which they have been decided?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Mike In MI

    Shame they dont have the electric chair anymore! I hope his soul burns in hell forever. I will personally pause, reflect, and celebrate tonight at 7pm EST at the extinguishing of another wart on the A'Hole of society being out of our midst.

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

      mike, please /wrists so the rest of humanity can get that feeling two-fold. your worth is no greater than mr. davis'. i hope you havent bred.

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

      I bet you wouldn't be saying that if it was your relative.

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

      unfortunately its 7pm tomorrow nigh, Wednesday, according to the article, but of course these stoop lawyers will try to get the Supreme Court to intervine which they probably will do...but if we are lucky he will die finallly after all these years and millions of dollars in care, court and attorneys fees that we are all paying for. WOW but we can't afford health care.

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

      why so early? Are you planning on a 24 hour celebration?

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

      Amen

      September 20, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • David Tremblant

      I'm already celebrating Mike!! Cheers to the hurricane that will drown you and to the tornado that will kill your family and to the fire that will burn your parents and to the ilnesseswill kill your best friends – that will be the justice coming in from the cosmos that will correct this and so many other injustices committed by the racist-fascists of this psychopathic country.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. TooRelaxed

    If there is one inch of doubt then the death penalty needs to be stopped. There has been a lot of prisoners put to death only later on in years they were found to be innocent.

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

      Oh really? Name one.

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

      A lot? Can you name one? Exactly. So we know 100% that he shot the guy at the party. We know he pistol whipped the homeless guy, but we're playing games that he didn't also kill the cop? How can anyone reasonably think this thug didn;t do it?

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

      If there are alot. Then please name one?

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

      Every single time we execute anyone in this country it is premeditated murder. You cannot proclaim yourself a civilized society and then turn around and use medieval laws for punishment. To replace a murder with yet another death is the absolute definition of hypocrisy. I am not saying that if it was my relative I would not want revenge; of course I would; I am only human. But revenge should never be a motive for justice. There are horrible and ruthless people who may not deserve to live but as long as we are not perfect and capable of never making an error in judgement, we forfeit our right to decide who lives and dies. The US needs to start being the forward moving society it thinks it is and ban the inhumane, barbaric and non-effective death penalty. An innocent man may be executed tomorrow and even if he were guilty, his blood is on all of our hands.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Chapt Rabit

      Here are EIGHT people put to death who were later found to be innocent.

      http://nakedlaw.avvo.com/2010/05/8-people-who-were-executed-and-later-found-innocent/

      I'm not saying this man is guilty OR innocent, I'm saying that if there is a doubt, as in recanted statements by witnesses, you MUST reconsider the case.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Adam

    That's just a plain stupid thing to say. Affirmative action doesn't even provide that many opportunities. I've worked with plenty of unqualified people at jobs, white, black, male, female. By the way I'm black, and completely oppose affirmative action.

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