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. SkekLach

    Wow... Really people? What is the thought process here? "Okay, granted... he shot that guy in the face and pistol whipped that clerk... but what makes you think that it was HIM who shot that cop? It could just as easily have been anyone else in that vacinity with that type of gun who was going around shooting people!"

    This lunacy gets a venue on CNN, but if it were a white man convicted of killing a black man, you'd all be screaming for his head on a pole.

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

      ever hear of 3 strikes? besides, he killed a man before, he should have gotten the death sentance then. This country needs to be tougher on crime. People killing others and they get a handshake, people steal,sell our secrets and they get a slap on the hand...Laws are clear, death sentence!

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

      talk about abject stupidity. what part of this piece of sheet shooting someone, pistol whipping another, then using the same gun to murder a cop do you not comprehend?
      it wouldn't matter anyway. whether or not he pulled the trigger is irrelevant. he was there, participating in a felony. simple reality clown. any participation, however slight, in a felony that results in a death is first degree murder, and you deserve to die.
      end of story. try to get some kind of a grip on reality

      September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. blackman

    well at least in 25 years minorities will be the majority in this country...no more white rule we voting yall hateful asses out goodriddens

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

      You do realize a black man is our president, right?

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

      The jury that convicted him and decided on the death penalty was...mostly black. What now?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • JTnc85

      Just remember man most young white people are like the our previous generations. It's the older white guys from the civil rights era who are still alive for now.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • k-man

      That will be hillarious to see who will run the country then with that majority.

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

      I meant most young white people aren't like the previous racist generations, the culture has changed

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

      Promise me that you'll make good on your word. With the way you get treated, I'd love to be a minority in our country. Protected rights, special treatments, opportunities for jobs and college thrown at me because of the color of my skin, the chance to blame all of the things that go wrong on racism. Bring it on, buddy.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. James Taylor

    Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq for not reason, no WMD, no ties to OBL, no ties to 911 with Saddam and in the process ruined our economic, killed over 500,000 innocent Iraquis and over 14,000 of our GIs and they are walking free after all their debacle and Crimes Against Humanity yet we kill folks in the USA or send them to jail for 30-70 yrs for less crimes?

    They belong in jail or at the Hague. That would be justice!!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • JTnc85

      I believe they believe that they're ultimately saving lives in the long run by achieving their new world order. I believe, however, that they're ultimately doing the wrong thing.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  4. BOUTTIME

    this went too far and finally he can meet his maker and his fate will be in his hands

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

      His only "makers" are his parents. Fool.

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

      Fool? We'll see..in time, fool

      September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • BOUTTIME

      Oh and Fool, when you quote someone, get it right, I said MAKER, NOT MARKERS, idiot...

      September 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. EatThemUpYum

    This has been reviewed at Federal level three times. At no level, State or Federal, has his conviction been overturned or the evidence been proven to be in question. He made a horrible mistake years ago but if we are a nation governed by laws, not by man, then he must pay which in this case means execution.

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

      you are correct, except, this punk did NOT make a mistake. trash like davis is trash TOTALLY by choice. no intelligent person would try to claim that there is any social or environmental cause for that choice. the irrefutable reality is that, doing something that you know you have no right to do is NOT making a mistake.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Hope

    Why does it matter what race this man is? He shot one person, beat up another, and killed a police officer all on the same day... How would you feel if one of these people he injured or killed was one of your family members? Black, white, or green polka dot it does not matter. Apparently, the law did not matter to him... What I think is unfair is that the taxpayers had to pay for him all these years…

    September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • JTnc85

      What's important is that you can't be 100 percent sure he killed the cop, soooo....that leaves too much doubt to kill him.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • jimmymax

      Regardless whether he killed the cop, no one is going to miss this POS.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  7. AMB

    No rational person should live in the south.

    The American south is a haven for racists, rednecks, and inbred hillbillies.

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

      The jury that convicted him and chose the death penalty consisted of 7 black, 5 white jurors. Oh noes – there goes the race card out the window.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • no

      generalize and stereotype much? no rational person would say something so stupid.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • jim woodward

      were you born stupid, or have you just practiced a lot. REALITY fool. the irrefutable FACT is that it is always the racist who starts screaming racism. your obvious racism is duly noted

      September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Thinking7

    To the people who think he is innocent – do you think he is innocent of shooting one man in the face at a party, then pistol whipping a homeless man, then shooting a police officer in the face, or just one of the crimes? Just curious.

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

      Like I've been saying: Regardless whether he killed the cop, no one is going to miss this POS.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chella

    very good questions, Shushin. I think they answer themselves. Maybe the reason some people are so determined to see this man die is because if they let him off the hook, this tarnishes the entire system of capital punishment. The value system that lets this happen is beginning to fall apart. When that happens people often push back, trying to glue it all back together. The victim's mother won't feel one little bit better after this guy is killed, I bet. In fact I bet she'll probably feel even worse. Generally it looks like the U.S. is slowly inching towards abolishing capital punishment but it might take years yet. You are the only modern civilized first world country still killing people, did you know that? Sooner or later that is bound to change.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  10. Think Sane

    No one cares about race. We're denying a man his freedom because he killed a cop and shot another man in the face.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ayomide

    For those of you who believe, rightly or wrongly, that Troy Davis is guilty, may I offer you some light reading: http://www.innocenceproject.org/.

    Food for thought: If Troy Davis is, infact, put to death for the murder of Officer McPhail on Wednesday at 7:00 PM, AND, AND, on Thursday, 8:00 AM, unquestionable, irrefutable evidence reveals that he, whome I don't know, was indeed not guilty, how many of you will cheer that an innocent man was put to death?

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

      we have an imperfect system. that's not to say that i believe he is innocent, but our justice system is imperfect.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. AMB

    It's too bad Lincoln didn't have the foresight to let these morons out of the union.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Roman inONEDay

    Why doesn't the article focus more on the recanted testimony?? If so many changed their story that should be what we are talking about. Funny how most that left a comment can come to a conclusion of guilt or innocence just by reading this flimsy little article!!! get the facts before making real BIG statements....

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

      Common day lynch mob and the inherent fear of black men. Sure they recanted their testimony but this is still a golden chance to kill another black man so why waste it......right?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. dgh

    just commute his sentence to life in prison, and be done with it. Buy the way, we could save a million dollars at the same time.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Klan Man Sam

    Urine stained sheets that is

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