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. Josh

    From a legal perspective, it really doesn't matter what the victim's mother thinks. In fact, you want to keep her OUT of this. All she's bringing is emotion. She's probably in denial, and she's going to get someone killed who isn't necessarily guilty.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  2. anappo

    Davis admitted shooting a man in the face earlier and pistol whipping a homeless man. When the off duty police officer arrived, Davis thought the officer was looking for him, instead the officer was shot in cold blood. if you disagree please read the 172 page report before saying there is doubt. He did it.

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

      There is doubt. YOu need to read MORE than that page.

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

      Were you there with him the night the crime happened? If you weren't then who are you to say that he did it? Unless you were there and saw what really happened you can't be sure.

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

      I did read all the witness statements in the 172 page report. Thats why I posted. Even 2 years later their statements were the same. Remarkable when Davis had his turn in court on the appeal he didnt call Coles to the stand. ? He knew that Coles would point the finger at Davis. Also, in todays tecnology you can match the firing pin marks on shell casings to match the weapon.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • beelzebubba

      There is a huge difference between believing someone committed a crime and PROVING someone committed a crime. The outrage over Caylee's mom not getting convicted proves how many people in this country don't understand our justice system is based on proof, not our gut feelings. A racist will naturally feel sure that a crime was committed when he sees the picture of a black man in a newspaper article about a crime. That is because their brains are twisted with hatred. It is because of people like you that I would never want to be judged by a jury in this country.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • anappo

      He was proven guilty and even after witnesses claimed they were pressured, he was still found guily. Davis had a fair trial. and the law states thats all he is guaranteed. Did you read that law? So leave your feelings out of it. I am as fair as can be. He did it. Read the facts that Judge William T. Moore wrote.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jahman

    Nothing has changed people, of course they will go to church and eat the flesh and drink the blood of their executed god......Ever since the good slave ship Jesus left the shores of Africa our holacaust began, and continues today

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

      Why is there no mention of the Bullets that were found at the party, and the bullets that were found at the police shooting, that matched troys gun? Guess the liberals dont want the people to know that there was actual evidence linking this sob the crime...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Tickers

      Just remember it was Africans capturing Africans and selling them to Europeans. So who's more to blame? The ones doing the capturing and selling or the buyers?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • JimBrown

      The slave ships were owned by four Jewish brothers and had nothing to do with Christians. You've been trained to dance and ring the bell before eating the cracked corn.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. InjusticeAbounds

    A broken judicial system, now operating like an auction house, is putting people to death... when it can't even manage reliable court dates. PEOPLE... is this what you want?

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

      The bullistic test on the bullets DID NOT match..with the bullet suspected in another shooting. ..... Has been following thi s injustice for years. Along with the recantations of the witnesses the Bullistic test and a host of more "unresonable doubt) ......This is Clearly an INJUSTICE to the respect of human life, that it REQUIRES as little of evidence that this man, Troy Davis committed this crime to be KILLED for. Is this alll that merits the legal lynching of alot of men that has died, screaming "I'm innocent" and the STATE can't prove that they are Guilty. I'm from Illinois, a republican governor was jailed on trumped up charges because after seeing 7 and 8 men that had been sitting on death row for decades, finally cleared because a few decent, educated college students decided to PROVE they were innocent. This Law has to be ABSOLUTE!!!!!!! And nothing Man does is ABSOLUTE. Plus I thought they were PRO-LIFE in the South.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  5. K

    Buh-bye, killer. NAACP? Please.Yep, I'm a "Hater". I hate people who kill others and expect the NAACP, or any other group to save them because of the choices THEY made.

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

      ..."I hate killers that kill other people????????? Then you MUST hate the STATE of GEORGIA and YOURESELF

      September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • M

      It's amazing how ugly people like yourself can be. I wonder what tune your were singing when Casey Anthony walked????

      September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Viper1j

    Anne MacPhail is nothing but a bloodthirsty biotch. She doesn't care if the right person dies for killing her son, as long as somebody dies for killing her son. Any black guy in the South would do as far as she's concerned.

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

      Good to know there is justice.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tickers

    I think every minority / majority group in the US has burned down the value this word once had. You have used it not to display the hatred but to exploit pity from people.
    Gone are the times when it actually meant something! Instead you have used up and trashed it so much there’s no nerve ending left for you to sting using it! And for those that truly are caught in a racial prejudice trap.. sorry but the other guys already got all of the glory using it and left you behind!
    So before it’s dead and gone for good! Have a little respect in what tiny little meaning it has left from your over use!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    I just hate to think that any man or woman can be killed without 100% proof that s/he is guilty. I hate that we feel the need to kill anyone, but a potentially innocent man? That's unconscionable. Why did so many witnesses recant? Something is so very wrong with that.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. me

    I say we dont wait nearly as long to execute these criminals as we already do. We give death row inmates all the resources in the world to smoke and mirror the crimes they actually committed. They are monsters and nothing will reform them. All inmates on death row have extensive records and the few that dont are the ones not challenging their execution fate!

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

    The best of judges on this earth aren't always right or fair;But God, the righteous Judge of all, wrongs no one in His care. One day God will right every wrong.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Geronimo

    If you are offended by Mr Davis [Mr? this a$$h0le's] death sentence then please finish reading this article above. I wish this man burns in hell. Or should be stoned to death may be.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. John

    One black guy is the same as the next who cares about DNA and physical evidence or that 7 witnesses recanting their statement. Who cares.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andrew

    It's funny how people think. I am not in any sense religious but don't condone those who are. The people that believe he should be executed are just as bad as Davis, as your are provoking another life from being taken. We are only on this planet for maybe 70 years if we are lucky, which is nothing in the scheme of things and 70 years will go by it seems in the blink of an eye. This life is meant to shape your soul in preparation for the after life and he has already punished himself. The reason why people want the death penalty is simply because they fear death and do not understand it so cast him into the unknown. Well I'm sorry to say all this is doing is messing up the souls who are involved

    September 20, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. woodrow

    A jury found him very guilty. They do not have a 'maybe' guilty verdict. He murdered an officer in cold blood, even shot him in the face. Now he cowers like a child behind misguided morning after jurors.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    There was no physical evidence linking him to the murder. 7 of 9 witnessed have recanted or changed their story.

    Had the trial occurred today, he would be found not-guilty. Former jurors have said so. So, instead of correcting a wrong, let's just kill the guy because he was found guilty previously? Oh yeah, the mom "thinks" he did it. It doesn't matter what she thinks. Facts are what matter. Facts are not adding up.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      no juror has said anything like what you said

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