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. B+

    Its too bad for this guy that his clemency didn't come up after after 2012. If it did and somehow Obama had been re-elected, he (along with many other "wrongly accused blacks") would have received a pardon from Obama in a blink of an eye. I would expect Obama to be handing them out like candy if he is re-elected since there would nothing for him to lose at that time.

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

      I'm thinking the President doesn't have the authority to pardon someone convicted by a state court. Tenth amendment and all that rot...

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

      Your ignorance of the judicial system is matched only by your ignorant racism.

      For your information, the President can not grant clemency in a state case, only federal cases. Only the governor of that state can grant clemency for a state case.

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

      Are you serious B? You honestly think he would be left to go bacause Obamo is half black. You are a sick person, or down right stupid.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • JON DOE

      DUDE EVEN IF OBAMA WANTED TO GIVE MR .DAVIS A PARODN HE DONT HAVE THE POWER TO DO SO B/C MR. DAVIS WAS CONVICTED UNDER STATE LAW NOT FED.... SOME PEOPLE JUST GET ON HERE AND RUN THEIR MOUTH AND DONT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • wow.

      Racist much?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Why the race card...you hate Obama because he's black, that's cool, but more than one white President has granted clemency. So do NOT be throwing your racism around like some badge of honor, while hiding behind your keyboard. People like you are what's really wrong with America. I only wish Troy could get out of for no other reason then to blow your racist brains out...along with all others like you.

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

    One of the family members said he, Troy Davis, has never been able to prove his innocence. The facts of this case remaining after 22 yrs. is that Troy Davis has never been proved guilty without a shadow of a doubt. There is much doubt, and the world sees this, as well as the Pope, but not the Georgia Justice System or the family who desire retribution for their loved ones death. The Georgia Justice System will forget about Troy, but the family will never have closure because they, after time, will wonder if an innocent man was killed as a sacrifice for the death of their loved one.

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

      Another BWB (black with blinders) post

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

      innocent until proven guilty dont forget that

      September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Kay

      It's NOT "shadow of a doubt". It's "REASONABLE DOUBT". There's a *big* difference between the two.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kevin

    1989 and he's still alive. Ridiculous.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. Avenger

    Talk about ignorant comments!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Paul NYC

    So it doesn't matter if a witness recants as long as someone has a "feeling" that someone is guilty.

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

      So it's ok to belive the witnesses now but not back when they originally testified? IS that right?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jahman

    What has christianity brought to the descendants of the african diaspora? slavery and death

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

      No-one stopping you from going back to your brothers over there, you know. I would bet there are people right there in Georgia qho would gladly buy you a one way ticket, if you would kindly denounce your United States citizenship............You could be living the good life, over in Somolia, Nigeria or one of those other backwards, cannibal nations.

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

      Unforunately "trueamerican" after the murder of millions over 400 years the continent has been decimated, but the fact you could not refute my post without your supposed patriotic diatribe lets me know exactly what type of one way ticket the good ole fowlks ah geaigia would have in mind........a necktie party, and I am sure you would be so kind to provide the tie as well

      September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaxon Jackson

      Well, we've been telling you to go back for decades. You wont listen.

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

      Amazing how someone made a comment about Christianity...and all these racists came out of the woodwork.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Renee

      Well if it's that technical why don't you good ole white folks go back to your mother land. You stole this one from the Indians, and I am sure while you have them confinded to Reservations they wish you gone too. Go HOME to the Queen please!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • TrueAmerican

      Renee – How do you know I am not an indian? Besides, what does racism have to do with it. I hear someone whining about the present situation, and let him know there are people who would glaly pay out of their own pockets to send him where he thinks he would be among his own. What's racist about that? And furthermore, I do not see any white people killing blacks over in Africa these days, Everything I see is black killing blacks. How's that racist?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. 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 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dave from GA

    Death penalty will not solve the problem. Not worth to execute this man.

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

      Sure it is worth it, They should put it on the big screen and charge for popcorn.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Shushin

    I used to actually support the death penalty, having worked as a law enforcement officer and seeing first hand the horrific things human beings are capable of. However, the fact that I can feel even just a hinge of doubt regarding his guilt forces me to pause and rethink my support, because I also know as a former law enforcement officer, how absolutely terrifying and devastating it would be for an innocent person to have to spend half of his/her life imprisoned. As a human being, I cannot condone the execution of an individual whose guilt has been questioned in such a way. The above story failed to mention how some witnesses recanted and explained that police had threatened them with charges if they did not finger Davis (some had prior records). Perhaps those of us that are so insistent death in this case, should also pause and ask why it is that we're so adamant about killing this person? Or about killing as retribution in general? What gives us the right to decide life and death?

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

      "some witnesses recanted and explained that police had threatened them with charges if they did not finger Davis"

      Also the fact that one of the two who have not recanted may have been the one who actually killed the cop...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaxon Jackson

      You clearly are only leaning on information supplied in this article when you mention doubting his guilt. The media puts thier on slant on the truth and reality of this case, and being a death penalty case, you can come to your own conclusion as to the opinion of the death penalty by the media. This case was and is a slam dunk. If you knew the case file, and knew the evidence against this man, you wouldnt have a doubt, just as his mother doesnt. It is reasonable to think that this man shot a man, pistol whipped another, but someone else came along at the very moment and killed the officer? There was witness upon witness that identified this man at both scenes. He is guilty, period.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      "It is reasonable to think that this man shot a man, pistol whipped another, but someone else came along at the very moment and killed the officer?"

      It is reasonable to think that two different men going about shooting people shot different people on that night, two men who look similar, and one of them killed the cop with a weapon that is similar to the weapon that the other used (same ammunition, for example). It is reasonable to assume that the murderer, offered the chance to finger someone else and save his own skin, testified as an "eyewitness" to the crime.

      It is reasonable to assume that, when a cop gets killed, other cops act with high emotion and can do some things that are simply unprofessional to get an arrest and a conviction, which includes pressuring "eyewitnesses" to finger a guy they think is guilty.

      Yes, that is quite plausible, indeed.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mark

    NO man on this Earth should be able to say if another man can live or die.

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

      except when you break that rule and murder someone. look at it this way at least he gets to have another last meal

      September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Tell that to the Department of Defense

      September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ed

    Only when government official such as those making the decision to kill this man are held responsible and charged with murder when it is found they have killed an innocent man will such goverment sponored killing be stopped. To go ahead wih the killing of this man given the questions surrounding this case raises doubt about the justice system itself. I mean really – convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. I cannot help but wonder are these killings being carried out to protect the carreers of those involved in convicting the person after in cases where the person is found to be wrongfully convicted. The truth is – people in the field of justice build their careers around convicting, locking up and killing other people.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Zakia

    collins61, you're so right – I mis-read the article. Anyone with common sense would recognize that. I still don't recant on the rest of my statement...Although, it's a shame people are attacked for innocent mistakes. Comment on the bigger picture...The standard that must be met by the prosecution's evidence in a criminal prosecution is that no other logical explanation can be derived from the facts except that the defendant committed the crime. An officer died, someone else is going to die and no one knows the absolute truth except for Troy Davis. My point was...ultimately this can be viewed as a vicious cycle of murder.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    why do we have to brand one another as racist for having a different perspective? Race matters in shaping that perspective, but it doesnt have to be the only factor–some people just are conservative and others are liberal.

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

      However, it just so happens that conservatives tend to be racist and liberals not. I've never met a liberal racist. However, to the 'credit' of conservatives, I'm almost certain I've met non-racist conservatives.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. Shushin

    I used to actually support the death penalty, having worked as a law enforcement officer and seeing first hand the horrific things human beings are capable of. However, the fact that I can feel even just a hinge of doubt regarding his guilt forces me to pause and rethink my support, because I also know as a former law enforcement officer, how absolutely terrifying and devastating it would be for an innocent person to have to spend half of his/her life imprisoned. As a human being, I cannot condone the execution of an individual whose guilt has been questioned in such a way. The above story failed to mention how some witnesses recanted and explained that police had threatened them with charges if they did not finger Davis (some had prior records). Perhaps those of us that are so insistent on death in this case, should also pause and ask why it is that we're so adamant about killing this person? Or about killing as retribution in general? What gives us the right to decide life and death?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • mylongfellow

      There will always be those that question guilt even after overshadowing evidence in preponderant amounts have supported factual guilt. Look at the OJ Simpson case. Everyone with a brain that can think knew he was guilty yet most of those people that supported him as being innocent were in fact of his same race. That is the same thing going here. Black people are NOT on the endangered species list of living matter on this planet. This guy is getting what he deserves!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Malron

      Mylongfellow , I am White I have a Brain and I think OJ's jury had a reasonable dobt so they did not convict. What does this have to do with Davis. Texas likes to execute people on tainted and circonstantial evidence too, Rick Perry let a wrongly accused arsonist die after a Board certified arson Investigator said the fire was not arson, No Physical evidence pointing to this man, Prosecution entered evidence like He frequents a Bar , Known too have been Drunk, The Countys Fire examiner who said it was arson is not Board Certified, was not an invistigator and had never had training in any kind of Fire investigation techniques. If it does not fit, You cant convict. Common Sense evade jurys , Judges, and Prosecutors
      Prosecutors have too much power , espedially with the Grand Jury System, Its been abused here in Arizona with our former County Prosecutor and Sheriff Joe Arripio

      September 20, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kkz

    We'll the south I's still the south..look anyone would want the person that killed a family member be murder too but that doesn't make it right or just ..murder is murder,just kick out all the potheads,non child support, driveing un suspended licences out of prison and there would be room for lifers. And someone nailed it why does a cops life mean more then you oe I ? Its a shame that murder is justice fo murder

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