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. Realtalker1

    I'm not really familiar with how all of this works. Does anyone know, is there any other hope for Troy short of the governer calling delaying it?

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

    How can you make a general statement about an entire race of people? Do you know all black people? Sir you are ignorant and obviously live a life driven by stupidity.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. B+

    @Bill, and I'm sure Jesse and his gang will use this as a reason to loot, I'm sorry, I meant to say rally.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sohaila

    "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

    September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. TrueAmerican

    Hit me with your best shot............Hit me with your best shot................Fire away!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Larry

    Race should have nothing to do with nothing, but if there are doubts, there is no pardon once you are dead.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike Moon

    How is it that Mr. Davis's actions on the infamous night, prior to the questionable shooting, have not been detailed until this article. He SHOT ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE AND PISTOL WHIPPED A THIRD BEEEEFFFFOOOORRREEE THE QUESTIONABLE SHOOTING! UNBELIEVABLE! Yet because they couldn't definitively tie the bullets together, he's innocent?

    Reasonable doubt? It's completely reasonable to assume someone who shot a man in the fact hours earlier, pistol whipped another man in the face after that, is likely to be the one who shot a third man on the same night.


    September 20, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bobby

    A great day in America. The court of public opinion has failed. The man was tried, convicted, went through appeals, was convicted, went to the Supreme Court, was convicted, and the board says he must die. These folks did their jobs based upon the evidence and the lack of creditibility of the recants 18 years after the crime. Justice is served. We need more of this to make folks think first before they kill.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    As a Georgian, what's is being done in whatever we have left of our good names, is unconscionable. Our justice system is severly damaged and only works if you have gobs of money, apparently. How did this man have a chance, even if he did have "ample time to prove his innocence?

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

      Annie, lets not dwell on it. Let's just be thankful they are taking this wart off of our heel.

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

    Bullets damaged maybe couldn't be matched exactly, shell casings match, must be time to do him.

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


      September 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  11. Alan

    I'll bet your black!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. kginsbo

    Blacks that come on here and think he's innocent just because he's black are disgusting.
    Whites that come on here and spew racist speech are disgusting.
    A parole board that hasn't overturned anything in 33 years is disgusting (unless of course they're perfect).

    September 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. dutspup

    everyone is forgetting about the guy he shot at the pool party and the guy that was pistol whipped at the convenience store where he then shot the cop. I suppose those were just coincidences huh. That was 22 years ago, at least he had the opportunity to go thru the process. You pull that now and your a dead man, cops dont play like that anymore.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. lou M

    America was a much better and stronger country when blacks were blacks, and in their places, and we didn't have so many ignorant and useless illegal immigrants. Maybe it's time for white America to wake up and return to its values and its roots, which is what made this country great.

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

      Of course you mean racism and slavery. I hope you die alone or in agony.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jessica J

      The victims mother needs to learn to forgive..not necessarily forget but if she doesn't learn to forgive..then she will forever live in the past.. And im pretty sure that's not what her son would have wanted...the defendant has faced the jurys judgement now he has to face Gods judgement...May god have mercy on his soul..

      September 20, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Judge Dred

    I say firing squad, over the course of a few days. Shoot him in the leg, come back 6 hours later, shoot him in the hand. Come back the next day, shoot him in the elbow. And so on, and so on. Feeeeel the burrrnnn, motha-effa!

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

      Dred, why does this kind of image make you so happy?

      Why is it that when people think of "justice," they so-often reduce themselves to drooling psychopaths bent on not only murder, but torture as well?

      Seriously, folks. Get a grip. What this guy did (if he did it, which he probably did) was wrong and evil. What you fantasize about doing to him in response is downright pathological.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • keef

      i guess you're convinced he's guilty?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Dennis Kelley

      wow. this is one of the ugliest displays of hate i have ever read. you truly need help, and are certainly un-American.

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