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. JGrisham

    Sylvester “Redd” Coles, the prosecution's star witness, killed officer MacPhail. This isn't about race or politics. It's not about bias in the judicial system. It's not about progressivism vs conservatism. It's not a referendum on rightness or wrongness of state sanctioned killings. Heck, it ain't even about Troy Davis or Mark MacPhail. It's about truth and justice. Here is some truth for you: (1) Mr. Coles owned .38 caliber gun (same as the murder weapon), (2) he admits to being at both the murder scene and the scene where Mr. Cooper was shot, (3) admit to arguing with Mr. Young (who was pistol whipped), not by Mr. Davis as he asserted in court (he has since recanted and said he was pressured by the police to ID Mr. Davis), (4) Mr. Coles a day after the murder hired a lawyer and went to the police and ID'd Troy Davis as the killer (and the police believed him - on nothing but his word). And based almost solely on Mr. Coles' statement, Troy Davis became the focus of their investigation, and the police merely went in search of evidence to bolster that erroneous conclusion (often employing threats and intimidation - which has led to 7 of 9 witnesses recanting). Tomorrow the State of Georgia will murder an innocent man. I can’t understand how a nation of “Christians” can so blatantly disregard the 6th Commandment – Thou Shall Not Kill.

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

      Well said.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Intellegent Man

    Can't we all just get along!?!?

    Krystals has the Strawberry Shortcake on sale ... made me feel better! 🙂

    September 20, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • DFW2011

      How intelligent are you if you can't even spell it?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jennifer

    We will 🙂

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

      I will pray for you, Jennifer.

      To rejoice over the death of anyone is sociopathic and comes from a very disturbed mind.......please seek help for your mental illness.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. blackman

    white ppl are so dam evil...so umm Vumba only black ppl do that stuff???

    September 20, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  5. Good Riddence

    None of the recanted testimony has suggested he didn't kill this cop and none of it has suggested someone else did. Look at the facts (like the clemency board did) and not the hoopla anti death penalty folks are stirring up over their poster boy of the week. He shot the first guy in the face – FACT, he admitted it. He pistol whipped the homeless guy – FACT, he admitted it. The same gun and bullet casings were used in all three instances – FACT. After this night he left town and tried to hide – FACT. The only thing in question is the actual bullets themselves and they were not proven to be different, just inconclusive – but once fired a bullet becomes a mangled mess. Simply ask yourself what is easier to believe? That a confessed criminal is trying anything he can to save his skin – or that a vast conspiracy including police, judges, review boards, the govenor, lawers (defense lawyer included), and forensics labs have all colluded together to pluck this man out at random and spend 20 years trying to kill him for no reason or gain???

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

      "None of the recanted testimony has suggested he didn't kill this cop and none of it has suggested someone else did."

      Actually, one of the two who didn't recant their testimony may have been the one who actually killed the cop.

      The biggest problem with killing Davis at this point isn't so much that he is innocent (he's certainly guilty of attempted murder, so the fact that the people he tried to kill managed to survive should not exonerate him imo), but the fact that the one who is guilty of this murder may go free.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Vesi

    If the death penalty has been handed out because of the severity of his attack on an individual and society then this penalty should also be handed out to all those Wall Street "wise guys" who have caused more damage to our society than this guy.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ken

    Make peace with God and you will be fine.Many dont get that chance

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. dgh

    The state of Georgia just wont to execute a black man, plain and simple!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Eric Cantorr

    Reincee priebuss, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and I, oh Michelle and Sara just joined us. We are all here discussing Troy Davis. We are very proud of the Racialist State of Georgia, they are still on the job of Ridding this country of these types of people.

    We will continue to keep the colored woman, we have much use for her. However let’s continue to kill the colored man…..they can’t do or say anything about it…..hang him, beat him, kill him.......WHEN YOUR DONE WITH HIM, I WANT HIS WOMAN.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. morbus gravis

    i cant believe these people were carrying signs that said free him hes innocent.......even if they didnt think he was guilty of the cop he killed what about the guy 15 minutes before, that he tried to kill by shooting him n the face??? this guy was a bad dude out for a bad night. and he got caught. so they think he should go free even though he shot a guy in the face or are they saying he didnt do that to??

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • JTnc85

      20 years for wounding a guy in the face is a little harsh probably.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • really?

      to JTnc85- "20 years for wounding a guy in the face is a little harsh probably."

      If he had just "wounded" someones face maybe.. However he intentionally shoot someone one with a gun in the face. I am amazed this victim lived at all and that we dont have two dead people this man may be responsible for. The shooting in the face should be attemptive murder and the beating of the other man should be added to that. I am not sure about Georgia law but in my state that would be a life sentence if convicted with out the cops death. Add the cop that was died the same day but the same type of gun that criminal admits to using in the first crime and the fact that he admits to being in the vacinity when the beating of the other man took place moments before the cop was shot and i doubt his innocents.. Either ways this guy tried to murder someone at a pool party and beat a homeless man.. You really want me to believe there was two physcos running around Georgia at the same time with the same type of gun doing close to the same type of crime(IE- both gun shot victims were in the facial area) hmmm...

      September 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Saxo Grammaticus

    "The [parole] board has never changed its mind on any case in the past 33 years."

    In that case, what is it about them that makes them a "parole" board? Aren't they more of a "rubber stamp" board?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sara

    SCANDALOUS

    September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. swerve

    Why does every situation that arises have to have race brought into it. White, black, brown, or whatever color doesn't matter, but ignorant people always try to make it matter. When you say "because he is black" or "because he is white", no matter who says it, just shows that you aren't intelligent enough to have a valid, relevant thought or opinion. Educate yourself so you don't have to reach for the bottom of the barrel looking for something to say because you're too stupid to be able to speak on the subject at hand.

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

    I love the comments about how "the court reached it's decision" and "justice has been done" and the like. However, these message boards looked a little different after the courts decision in the Casey Anthony case. Everyone was so sure that justice had not been done and the court was wrong. But here, for some reason, it's the opposite... somehow in this case the courts or jurors cannot have been wrong (even the 7 jurors who say they were). Interesting

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

      you are as smart as one of these knuckleheads int he crowd, it wasn't 7 jurors that recanted. it was 7 witnesses and some didnt even recant

      September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. paulm5545

    Originally, what did Davis say when questioned by the police regarding the killing?

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