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. matt

    this is wrong, why should he have to be killed and who should make that decision, if he still has the will to live i think you should let him, i mean you don't hear other people or anyone deciding that someone should die because no one wants it to actually happen think of his family and how your hurting them.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Thomas

    I agree that he should perhaps get life in prison; then again this is how our justice system works. It's not always "fair" and that's what the system is for. Some win, some lose. I don't support the idea of paying for someone to live out their death either. Too many tax dollars wasted. You do the crime, you do the time or in this case life for life.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Edgmon

      it's cheaper to give someone life in prison than it is to execute them.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @ Jeff, only because the system is broken. All it cost for a bullet is about 37 cents.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Well, in your rush to exterminate you forget one point: prisoners can earn their keep. Make them work, otherwise feed them potatoes and don't allow them to watch tv. Simple enough for even a fundamentalist Texan to understand.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Edgmon

    If he had been a white female, that killed his own child, covered it up, lied non stop, was a proven liar over a dozen times, he would walk out of there, sell his story, make a million or more dollars, and vacation in Mexico and the Carribean twice in three weeks. Because he's a black man, they will not even commute his sentence to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Cevennes

      And OJ?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      You know there were black jurors on the Anthony trial right?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Waaaaaaaaah. Get over it and use somethi g more original than the race card, you've embarrassed yourself.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Edgmon

      Isn't OJ in prison right now?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • justice

      ...or a retired football player who carves up his ex-wife and an innocent bystander.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Cevennes

      Not for murder. He was acquitted. Wow. You didn't know that?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • ME

      if you are going to use the race card because he is black and anthony is white , dont forget about that black man who walked after almost decapitating 2 people with a knife. ok OJ

      September 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Edgmon

      @caveness the point is OJ received justice, he lost all of his money and freedom eventually, it just took a while.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Cevennes

      Dumb point. He was charged with and acquitted of murder of two people, though he clearly did it–much more clearly than anything implicating Davis. He was free for years, getting up to all sorts of nonsense, and then committed further crimes for which he was charged, convicted and punished. He got off on the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. That is the point.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Anti-Death Penalty

      The race card will always be valid to use as long as there is racism in America. Also, OJ was a pro football player. Celebrities always get off.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • A Social Worker

      Anti-Death Penalty: Where I can't say that I agree with you on the "anti" death penalty part, I must say that I can't agree more with the racism view. As long as people look through their own "lens" of life, there will never be justice for all. As a life-long resident of the South, I feel that I have some experience to base this. I don't know all of the details of this case; however, I will definitely agree that even if we don't want to admit it, race most definitely plays a role.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. kelly

    So the victims mother claims justice when the real killer could still be on the loose?? WOW!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  5. gerjo...

    We are in GA folks... Republican States are racing to be the state with the highest number of executions, Texas is leading but the race is not over as Georgia is coming from behind....

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Abe

    Another scathing failure in our justice could those 9 "witnesses" even see anything with those white hoods obstructing their view?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • ShameOnU


      September 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. TomDE

    This case is yet another example of why it's a relief to know that God is the final judge, and not imperfect humans.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Josh

    I believe the State of Georgia has just started something that they cannot extinguish, and that is the distrust, and the outrage, of the people.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. jasha7

    A travesty and a tragedy. With such a huge amount of doubt in this case, his sentence should be reduced to life without parole. How Georgia can execute a possibly innocent man is shameful and disgusting. Those folks on the GBPP have blood on their hands.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. alex

    This is exactly why we should not have a death penalty.. or let's do the following – if, at a later day, somebody proves that the state executed an innocent man (as was the case numerous times), a Governor and a prosecutor should be charge with second degree murder... Let's see how sure will they be in that case...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • nonya

      I agree. That would stop a lot of this unfairness

      September 20, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Thomas

    This is exactly why I'll never have anything to do with Georgia and Texas. The governments of these states are ridiculously corrupt; they execute civilians when their guilt isn't absolute; their unemployment rates and poverty levels are sky-high; their educational systems are corrupt (the ATL cheating scandals, for example).

    Boycott these states until they are fairly reformed. Send a message that America will not tolerate governments who neglect humanity.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Din ATL

      You're an idiot! GA & TX follow the laws of the land and I for one am glad they do. It amazes me how people like you support the killers and ignore the victims!!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Stef

      How exactly do you want to boycott a state??

      September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • justice

      Good! Keep your warped-minded azz out of our states. You won't be missed.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Annie - Atlanta

      Georgia is extremely corrupt! Go take a look at the Holding facilities where they are holding so called immigrants! it's shameful how they hold on to people so their families can suffer! SAD!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • rastaman44

      Georgia and Texas represent to the absolute nadir in terms of Southern values: racism, xenophobia and inbreeding. Guess which two states have the highest execution rates? LOL

      September 20, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  12. Evelyn

    MONSTERS! Who are the true criminals?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Din ATL

    Finally the victim's family will get justice!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • a commenter

      The family of the slain officer won't get justice if the wrong person is executed. Clearly, Troy Davis committed horrible crimes–shooting someone in the face is cold-hearted if it's not in self-defense. However, because there is doubt that he killed this officer, he should not be executed. If it's revealed that he is innocent of this specific crime, I agree that those who ordered his death anyway will have blood on their hands. I don't care what color a person is. Right is right.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. Pat

    He's still a murder. He pleaded guilty of shooting another guy in the face at a pool party. You people act like he's going to walk out of jail if they do overturn the sentence. He's a murder even if he's not guilt of shooting the cop. Love how CNN leaves out that he murdered someone else and pleaded guilty.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat


      September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Cevennes

      The man shot in the face did not die, and in fact, he testified at trial that he didn't see who shot him and that Davis had no reason to shoot him because they didn't even know each other. You Internet trolls just invent stuff, don't you?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Cevennes

      Oh, and he pleaded not guilty to all charges. So your entire post is a lie.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jahman

    The South rises again

    September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
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