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. Outdoor Girl

    I always find it shocking to realize how many people have the bloodlust to kill another human. And if it's a bloodless killing in an execution chamber even apparently peaceful people will relish it. I don't know if Davis committed murder. But if the witnesses have recanted there must be something more to consider. The parole board must be able to live with the thought of executing a potentially innocent man. I'm certain I could not.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeyD74

      Go hug a tree hippy

      September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. Bruce

    So, how about when we go kill someone via the death penalty, we take the time to dot our i's and cross our t's and ensure due process of law is followed first?

    Oh, wait. Nobody cares about due process any more. Let's just get our vengeance on...

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

      Enough with your melodrama. He's had 22 years of due process.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      So we should have no problem giving him a few more years, if that's what it takes to get it done.

      Whatever, nobody cares about due process any more. It's all about vengeance.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. me

    That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia
    That's the night that they hung an innocent man
    Well don't trust your soul to no back woods southern lawyer
    Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands

    September 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. L

    This piece of garbage deserved to die 20 years ago when they threw him in jail. Taxpayers have been paying for this waste of life to live in a hotel and eat 3 meals a day, which I'm sure is better than what his then-life consisted of. I would have stuck him with the needle the day he got sentenced.

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

      > This piece of garbage deserved to die 20 years ago when they threw him in jail. Taxpayers have been paying for this waste of life to live in a hotel and eat 3 meals a day, which I'm sure is better than what his then-life consisted of. I would have stuck him with the needle the day he got sentenced.

      And this is why I'm thankful the legal system is run by more intelligent people then you. Being sentanced for a crime should not be a punishement. It should be to reform the person or to prevent that person from harming another. No more, no less.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
    • abidingdude

      Is that why recidivism is at nearly 60%? Because they're being reformed? Did you buyyour Criminal Justice degree at DeVry?

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

    Let me see… jury conviction, multiple Appellate appeals rejected, Supreme Court rejection, multiple Georgia Pardon & Parole Board rejections. This sums it up, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia found that Davis "vastly overstates the value of his evidence of innocence." The people who want him spared are either against the death penalty in general/using his color as an excuse. Their disgraceful & deliberate mucking-up the truth to the liberal media is a travesty. Hope he has a hard death. RIP officer MacPhail.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. The Bobinator

    > Your ignorant comment, along with this completely racist & ignorant position by the Georgia Clemency Board, clearly illustrates WHY America has ceased to be a forward thinking and progressive nation.

    How do you know it's racist? How do you know it's ignorant? Unless you're in their shoes and see what they see, how can you possibly form an intelligent position. What's really ignorant is you profess knowledge you do not have and interject your own personal opinon as fact.

    > While the rest of the civilized world is making advancements towards the future and becoming more inclusive, America shrinks from progress, wallows in it's own ignorance and allows it's future to be determined by knuckle-dragging sheet-wearing, hate-filled bigots.

    We can't make progress with simpleminded people like you. Please don't breed.

    > Denying logic and reason will never be a path to the American Dream.

    You don't know what logic and reason is. I base this on the nonsense you wrote above.

    > We're all in this together. To deny one man his freedom on the basis of race is to dent freedom and liberty to us all!

    Assumptions do not make it so. Perhaps if you feel so strongly about a subject you should research it, instead of just randomly spouting nonsense.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. reggie

    Also, even if Mr. Davis didn't kill this man, he surely has the violence in him to have killed someone else. Most people don't settle their problems with murder, or attempted murder. Murderers who are freed from prison tend to continue in their violent way of life, robbing or even killing others to survive in the free world. Some convicted murderers do turn over a new leaf, but these are the exceptions to the rule. A freed Troy Davis might eventually rob or kill me or one of my relatives one day, so he can't be executed fast enough.

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

    Wait, Casey Anthony found innocent bc of a "shadow of doubt" but Troy Davis is still being executed when 7 out of 9 witnesses recanted their story??!!! What's wrong with this picture?? These are two example that show who America values the most...double standards...why do we even call it a justice system??? This isn't just's blatant injustice...

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

      there is nothing wrong with the picture , what would make it wrong is if someone were to step forward with casey anthony and recant their story – nobody has, the jury decision stands. But in this case 7 of nine is not 9 of nine so 2 witnesses still stand by their story. But there is one other thing that everyone is forgetting, conveniently too, THE JURY HAS MADE THE DECISON over YEARS AGO AND THE BAS**RD NEEDS TO DIE – GET IT??

      September 20, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bobby Amadi

    The comments here and the general discussion in media and by "experts" is exactly what is wrong with the US and (my own country Iran). The question is not if his guilty or not but the simple fact of Why not show mercy? Even if he is guilty, when we know there has been at least some discrepencies, why not take the high moral ground. WE are not killers, instead of screaming for blood. The US and Iran have so much in common that sometimes I get scared...extreme religiosity, vengence, always a justification for cruel actions...a people always held in ignorance...My dad used to always say: the devil only fights his own...

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

    Thou shalt not kill. Don't believe in this, don't call yourself a Christian. These are commandments that overshadow the lame excuse "an eye for an eye"...comandments not suggestions.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  11. Weatherbrain

    Well recanting witnesses is nothing new. We had a case here in Baltimore where two young thugs were arrested on charges of animal cruelty. I will not recount the crime as it is too gruesome to explicate here, needless to say there were several eyewitnesses to the act. But the potential sociopaths either got a hung jury or the trial had to be stopped because one of the witnesses, a girl who could hardly read or write, but she was able to apply plenty of make up and use 5000 min of cell phone a month, she , on the stand , said she only turned them in for the reward money. Was she arrested for perjury or some other 'obstruction of justice' charge ?? We don't know because the Baltimore Sun stopped running news stories on these thugs – BUT my point is these witnesses will do anything or say anything to line their own pockets or give a 'bro' a break and it doesn't take much. Just 20 years or so and these spineless amoral creeps would let Hitler go if the 'price was right.' We live in a corrupted society where morals are gone from this earth and in their place is an even more corrupted plane of relative ethics. Its a great tragedy and we as a country will not survive it.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chicago Joe

    NYCMovieFan, it doesn't say they have never granted clemency. It says that they have never (in 33 years) changed their minds after they have looked at a case the first time.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  13. MIchael

    I pray that he has everything right with God! One thing the Bible states, if we confess our sins with our mouth, then we shall be saved.. If he did kill this policeman; just as longs as he confesses HE WILL BE IN HEAVEN! If he did not kill this man, and he is indeed innocent, I still pray he knows Jesus, because if he does once he does take that final breath; he will wake up in paradise. I will rather live in hell, than die AND go to an eternity in hell!! For all of those who wishes this man in hell, I pray you know Jesus, because the Bible does not count any sin being bigger than the other! I pray this victim's mom is able to forgive this man oneday, becuase if she doesn't the BIble says God will NOT forgive her of her sins. All have sinned & falling short of the glory of God!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • godless_blashpemer_heathen

      so we can do whatever we want as long as we confess on our deathbed? that's one heck of deal.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • I AM GOD

      God hates you.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Carmen

      yawn! zzzzzzzzzzz

      September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Abdallah

      So, how can a killer be in heaven if the victim didn't forgive him?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Hajalua

      Well, thank goodness we've all had our Sunday preachin'. But you forgot to pass the collection plate............

      September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • BurritoSupreme

      Blood thirsty retard.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      If all sins are 'equal' then why does the Bible speak of an unforgivable sin? (Matt. 12:32) Why did God outline that some sins deserved death by stoning while some sins simply required a sacrifice of bulls, rams, lambs and even wine? (1Chron 29:21)

      Many people think that the more they say "Lord" and "Jesus" and "God" that they are somehow closer to God. (Matt 7:21-23) Some people think that the more they tell others "Get to know God..." that they know God. Qoute the Bible! Tell me what the Bible really teaches, otherwise be quiet please...

      September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. TrueAmerican

    Hang low sweet chariot, coming forth to carry Troy to hell.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  15. Avenger

    You're defending a murderer. That makes you reprehensible.

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