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. K3Citizen

    This ruling will put other cops lives' in danger.

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

      may be looking closer at the guilty could solve this issue

      September 20, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. dgh

    the evil south and their so called bible belt.....they love their death....

    September 20, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. denise

    Heed the message. Black men across American. The scales of justice operate different for each. White man would get life.
    Blacks will get lethal injection.

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

      Wrong. If you kill a police officer you are subject to the death penalty regardless of race

      September 20, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • V. P.

      How about we all stop killing other people and we wouldn't have to worry about being killed ourselves. Killing is wrong no matter what color you are! I say if you kill and have been proven guilty then you should be put to death no matter what your color, race, class etc. The only exception should by if one kills in self defense. Have a nice day all.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      more whtes get the death penalty murder then blacks and get executed 17 months faster, on average. in this case its the whites are who being unfairly put to death statistically

      September 20, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • blueiis0112

      Google Roger Keith Coleman

      September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. Julius

    Only in the South

    September 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bj McKenzie

      Wrong

      September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Eaglemom

    well if he's guilty he will face the GOD and be judged and if he's innocent and saved he will be in Heaven with GOD where it's got to better than being here with all these idiots! It's a shame every situation has to come down to race, we should be over that by now! I cannot believe how cruel some people can actually be. I pray for him, his family, the officer's family, the parole board, and all the people involved in the case.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  6. vince

    black man executed for "killing" a white cop...typical

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

      Damn right!! That's the way it ought to be!

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

      Don't bringthe race card into it, okay. How many time has this case been before clemency boards? yes 7 of the witnesses have recanted, but the overall testimony must have been too compelling to reverse the judgement

      September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • southernbygiftfromGod

      Yes, it's typical that the black population think that they can do whatever they want to white people, even Police, because they don't think that they have to follow the same laws as others. Typical.
      If he was so innocent, why was he also found guilty on the other crime. Guess he didn't shoot the other guy too!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sam Uzumaki

    extremely ignorant, you do know that they have no evidence to prove he's guilty! yet they are going to kill him, justice is so not how it used to be and what makes me sick is that people like you don't even consider the fact that he may be innocent, what happens if he is innocent what are you gonna do then bite you tongue off! people are full of opinions but its nice to see how ignorant america's society really is

    September 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. dgh

    i would like to know who is on the board......of pardons in the state of Georgia.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
  9. biggins08

    From what was described at the trial this guy isn't exactly a model citizen, but I don't know if there was enough physical evidence to link him to the crime of murder. Apparently a judge seemed to think so. In my mind, if there is any doubt, however slight, the most prudent action would be to commute the sentence until 1) new evidence comes to light that may exonerate the accused or 2) the accused dies in prison. Once you kill someone there's no way to bring them back, innocent or not. Besides, if he really did do it, don't you think a long life, spent every day behind bars with nothing to do but think and watch your back, is a better punishment than a quick and easy death? If it was my child killed I'd want the SOB to rot in jail, death would be too kind. And I'd stop by the jail every week to harass the SOB too, just to make sure that he never forgot what he did to my child. To me that would definately be a fate far worse than death....

    September 20, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Luek

    All of these paid protesters at the rallies, professionally done protest signs and media releases are costing someone some big bucks! I wonder who is behind this?

    September 20, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      when it was first reported on CNN hundreds of posters kept repeating the mantra "no physical evidence" post after post like they posting from a formula. this anti death penalty thing was slick action

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

    Georgia has no Pride in their History. Hanging him from a tree in the Town Square is more traditional.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. pazke

    Whether or not Davis is guilty, I cannot say. I can say, though, that if the victim's mother is so sure he is guilty and so hellbent on him being executed then she should be REQUIRED to sit there and watch. She shouldn't be allowed to just turn her head while someone else does her bidding.

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

      she just won't her pound of flesh

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

      its the state thats executing him not her. you should be putting your hate on him not her. goes to show you how evil lib nuts are

      September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. morbus gravis

    at least this article was written a little better then the others that were written by anti death penalty people. this article at least mentions the physical evidence that convicted troy, all the other articles said was "there was no physical evidence" which was lie, to drum up support

    September 20, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. abidingdude

    Everyone is up in arms about this today, but the vast majority will have forgotten Troy Davis in another week.

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

      I'm not going to be wringing my hands in grief over a loser that takes a gun to a party and shoots another guy in the face, even before the other stuff happened. And here he is wearing glasses now, no doubt his lawyer told him that would make him look "better" to the public, the dude probably can't even read. FRY THE BASS TURD!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. jimmymax

    He had already shot another guy in the face before that, so here's a guy with a gun at a friggin pool party, so whether he did the cop or not, fry this loser, no harm done!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JTnc85

      you're a moron

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

      ..and no doubt, you're a black moron.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Linton Dawson

      All hail the KKK!

      September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • JTnc85

      Haha nope wrong again. I'm white. I'm just smarter than you.

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

      He was never at the pool party (that's only alledged). Red Coles was the only person who is know to have been at the scene of both shootings. Investigate the facts!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
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