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. reggie

    This is analogous to the NFL's instant replay rule– the call cannot be overturned without indisputable evidence. The Pope could argue for Troy Davis' innocence, and it wouldn't change the fact that twenty years ago he was tried and found guilty for this murder. Unless a video shows another person pulling the trigger, Mr. Davis will be dead within 48 hours.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mauro


    September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. John

    Tell that to the Almighty when you stand before him begging for mercy that you do not deserve.......

    September 20, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  4. bitnar

    It's not clear from the article, but is there any doubt about him shooting Michael Cooper at the pool party and pistol whipping the homeless man? Did the witnesses recant that as well?

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

    The cost that the taxpayer has had to foot for this looser for 22 years is more than an average inmate. This guy used appeals, lawyers, and requires special treatment and extra guards, security, etc. for 22 years now... WOW! Millions of dollars wasted on a Cop Killer. Go America!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti-Death Penalty

      I do not see how anyone can justify killing another person. YOU ARE NOT GOD and should not determine if a person lives or not. How would you feel if this was your family member being put to death for a crime that no one is sure he committed? Any one who believes this man should be sentenced to death is heartless. The justice system is failing for its people and you ignorant people are going along with it.

      And speaking to his family, I know you want closure. But, why would you want to chance killing an innocent person just like your father/husband was killed?

      Americans do not take the time to think. They act on impulse and that is why our economy and justice system are all going to the dogs.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Vumba

    I hate the race card to. In my city there has been 7 killings of men doing violent acts, all black! There has been 6 stories of flash mobs beating up another race, all those in the flash mob were black. Recently we had three stories of adults going on the school buses and settling their kids (angels I'm sure) fights by slapping and punching the 10-12 year olds, at least that's what the bus camera showed. There were two bank robberies last week but we're still looking for those two black men. On television the Black Caucaus is calling the folks of the 'tea party', 'racist' why? Because the tea party asked the President to be more frugal with out taxes. I just heard that 70% of births in the black community are out of wedlock. In the sports section of the paper I read about a black basketball player having 7 kids with 7 different women, ouch. I hate the race card. You can't make this up. You try not to let this influence your feelings but this is just one city, and the black population here is smaller than the national average. What should I do, what should I think?

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

      You said it all, Vumba. You won't hear this in the mainstream media because it would be "racist."

      September 20, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • NVJoey

      It's not the outcomes you so "scientifically" (yet only present anecdotal evidence) state, but the causes behind the "apparent" racially exclusivity of the "crimes." If you used your pea-sized brain a few moments longer you might realize that the resources available for young black people growing up may have a relationship with the development of that specific racial population...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti-Death Penalty

      The Black race was enslaved for over 200 years. The end of segregation was only about 50 years ago. How do you expect an entire race of people to rise up and be able to stand toe to toe with a race (WHITE AMERICANS) that has been in power since America was founded? It is true that there are many problems in the black community. But, take a look at the flip side. Name out all of the problems in the white community. You probably do not even know any because they are not readily publicized. The American media is quick to release a story about a black robbery or black killing, while the white crimes are covered up. Don't let the media fool you. Or in you all's case, keep letting it fool you. Just know that you are being very biased and ill-informed. But hey, if that is how you want to live your life be my guest. Take it up with God.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Vumba

      Anti-death penalty: You sound like your in Junior High. Think of all the other 'races' that came to America with nothing but the clothes on their back and have made a positive contribution to society, without the crime and social issues. Why in 2011 are we still discussing the same issues about the same people over and over...WHY?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Vumba

      NVJoey: You know what, I typed a nice fact driven retort to your superficial entry but I stopped and said, 'what the heck, you can't change the mind of a liberal, their unforgiving, self-righteous, arrogant, and very much self serving". So, NVJoey, with that thought, you have a good day.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. IggyDad

    Satisfaction of a thirst for revenge does not equal justice.

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

      Sure it does.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. kimgirl

    Wow what a totally ignorant comment!!! I am a black female who is well educated thanks to hard work and no help from any kind of aid!! I have a great job with very high esteem from my coworkers. I could apply and get a job in my field anywhere I wanted due to my impeccable reputation. Can you say the same!!! Probably not you are to busy blaming black people for your own inability to progress. Affirmative action really does nothing for the black community thanks to those of us who don't need it. Stop blaming black people for your own shortcomings. Take responsibility for yourself!!!

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

    The last line of this article is chilling – "the board has never changed its mind on any case in 33 years" – wow. So they are NEVER wrong?? It appears that they are strangely perfect.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jameel

    Why do we kill people, who kill peoples, to show that killing people is wrong

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

      It is not about killing people who kill people. It is about bringing the killers to justice.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • erik

      Uhhh... what a cold, cold place it must be over there. Everybody screaming for revenge. Guilty or not. Glad to live in Norway. Thought you guys wantet "change" and not chains...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti-Death Penalty

      Exactly! And what is this phrase "bringing the killer to justice"? You can't even prove he is the killer.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  11. Connecticut

    Interesting comment! I'm an African American (not "a black" as you so politely put it) and I happen to own a very lucrative business. I didn't become a business owner because of Affirmative Action and I have the pleasure of working with people of all races on a daily basis (including "blacks"); race has no merit in determining the speed in which work will be completed. Perhaps the problem is you and/or your employers neglecting to adequately train new hires because you've already determined they'll perform poorly prior to the start date. Where has your theory been proven? Has your fast food chain job swayed your judgment?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jim

    Why do black people love to stick up for murderers?

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

      Garbage in, Garbage Out!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • estudiasinfronteras

      Niether of you are true Americans.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Lighting

      Hey Estudias, just keep your behind in school and learn something.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    Satan has many followers including the Board members on this site. What happened........

    September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. boogaloo

    I don't have all the answers, but I have to disagree with that statement. I believe we are too lenient with murderers and rapists today. I live in Chicago and the things I read of happening everyday right putside is so disturbing. Murderers, kidnappers, molesters, all given second chances and all repeating the crime. We can not afford to go soft. You reap what you sow and if this man is indeed guilty of murdering a SECOND victim already (for which he is sentenced death) so be it, let him face his punishment. we all make choices and when you decide to take away a person's child, sister, brother, parent, be aware that you may face death as well for your crime. chicago is lenient, we have no DP in Ill. These creeps are all over the place, they always repeat. Either lock them away for good or get rid of them, but second chances do not make any sense for the murderes, kidnappers and child predators.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. me

    Everyone feels bad for Mr hoo. I bet if you met him that night while he was all cracked up and armed you wouldnt feel sorry for him. Especially when he stood over your dying body and shot once more in your face! The man before you isnt the same man as the night he killed that officer. He is missing his crack pipe and gun.

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

      Were you there, you sound so sure of yourself? Have you even bothered to read anything about the story? He was in Atlanta 4 hours after the occurrence, quite a feat when you're all drugged up and supposedly committed a crime in Savannah. But let's not let any facts get in the way. Sickening.

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

      Annie needs psychiatric treatment.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti-Death Penalty

      I feel as though Geronimo needs an education...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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