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. tony

    If he didn't want the death penalty, he should've killed a cop in California where they don't care about victims as much as they do criminals.

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

    As implied above by another (thank you): It's the Christian South, they are in Love with Death. Christian religion is very very fearful. It had to be 'made happy' with Santa Claus and Easter Bunny. Christian is the Religion that Worships Homicide. The symbol (Crux) is the electric chair of the day. No other religion on the planet directly worships Homicide like that.

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

      Amen Brotha!!!

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

      Uhhh...islam? What about that religion, which preaches hate and "converting" those non-believers. I guess it would be politically incorrect to identify muhammed as a violent extremist who died preaching his hate. Go back to high school and review your history and grammar.

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

      You're just sore that your friend is going to fianally have to answer for his crimes.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Catholics are christians and Catholicism is AGAINST the death penalty. You are a moron trying to turn this into a religious witchhunt.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • kirk

      haha...that is so stupid it is funny...you need to go back to the farm....

      September 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Some Guy

      Great line of thinking there, wilbur. Instead of actually criticizing something about Christianity worth criticizing, you decide to grossly misunderstand one of its foundational points and attack it based on that misunderstanding. I can't think of a worse way to try to make a point.

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

      Wilbur, Jesus went to the "electric chair of his day" so that YOU would not have to be separated from the most fulfilling relationship in existence...communion with God...either here in this life or in the eternal existence to come. Christians worship a God who can overcome death and sin and restore us to our intended destiny. Troy Davis has been running from Him for a long time, but he will meet Him Wednesday evening, face to face. One day, we all will. He can restore Troy, he can restore you, Wilbur, and he can restore me. I hope we all ask him to.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Where were these witness ten tears ago.. Funny how they suddently appear at the right time.

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

      They were probally scared to speak until now, think how that investigation went when another officer is the victim.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. wish the article said more

    so were there eyewitnesses in the pool shooting, and pistol whipping? If the guy is released for the recounting of the witnesses (I am guessing in the police shooting), what does one do when they get out of prison? is 20 years served sufficient for shooting but not killing the first guy (although I am sure killing was the goal, not maiming), and pistol whipping the second guy. I wish these things had the whole story. I know I would never be able to push the button that pushes the plunger (of the lethal hinjection) on someone innocent....but isnt it already too late if its slated for tomorrow? Do they ever give a stay of execution in GA?

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

      Come on, ya gotta read the story BEFORE YOU POST. The guy already had a stay of execution in 2008...two hours before the execution. That is why we are here today.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. dgh

    life in prison.....save the argument

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

      and YOU can pay the costs of giving him life in prison out of your own pocket!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      Cheaper to lock him up forever then put him on death row and execute him, thats a fact so your arguement is invalid.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  6. IrishYank2

    What bother me is that he shot a man in the face at a pool party, but claims innocence when it comes to shooting the cop. Regardless, this is not a good person and my sympathy only runs so deep.

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

      What this guy deserves and what sympathy we may or may not have for him is irrelevant. If he didn't shoot the cop then someone else did. Kill him and shut the case and the whole history of sloppy police work that fingered the wrong guy (who may "deserve" to die for the other things he did that night, who really cares?) and let the murderer go free (the murderer may be one of the two witnesses who haven't recanted their testimony btw) just gets swept under the rug.

      The police and the prosecutor deserve to be scrutinized and criticized for how they handled this case. This isn't just about whether Davis "deserves" one thing or another...

      September 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Actually Bruce it is about what the judicial system says he deserves. In the case in has been determined that he deserves death. He did it, he was convicted and he has exausted his appeals. He has had his due process and now he DESERVES to receive his penalty...DEATH!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      And, Matt, after DEATH what we have is a bunch of hick cops who think they did the right thing, who are never held accountable for the sloppy and unprofessional things they did to get the conviction.

      Whether or not Davis actually shot the cop, what law enforcement did between the murder and the conviction was wrong, and nobody seems to care much about that...

      September 20, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. Charms

    Happy now? I hope all the blood thirsty sadists are now calm. Vampires. I don't know if he's guilty/innocent but people wishing death on someone scare the heck out of me.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Why? You should be scared of people like Davis!!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kat Gordon

    Even if he is guilty, it's not morally right to incarcerate someone for 20 years and THEN kill them! They aren't the same people after all those years in prison. Seems to me that the truest criminal is a legal system that would do such a thing.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  9. Klan Man Sam

    1 less person is this world means more room for me and my 20 kids to run around barefoot, drink budweiser and eat pig feet

    September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • perryw

      Hahaha... I hear you brother!!! We'll all drink one when they fry his guilty ass!!!

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

    The scenario: No phyisical evidence and probable cause.
    The result: White woman, Casey, goes free, Black Man gets the lethal injection...wow!

    September 20, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      One was acquitted and one was found guilty. Duh.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • WhiteGaGirl

      There was physical evidence in Casey Anthony's Trial....(death smell in her car, tape from her house,laundry bags from her house,heart stickers from her house...all these items were found with the baby's remains, not to mention she didn't report her daughter missing for 31 days then lying to police the whole time) She walks free after Killing her Beautiful daughter (even her own father believes she killed her daughter) However, in Troy's case there wan NO physical evidence and they are going to kill him. Where is the Justice in our country???? As long as they have one black man in custody who cares if they search for the real killer "Red" who has admitted to the killing to many friends here in Ga.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jim F.

    Right, DaveinSC – 22 years and $1,500,000.00 (average cost to execute a criminal) – all falling squarely on the taxpayer.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  12. erich2112x

    Right after the execution they'd arrest the executioners for murder if all of this made any sense.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. k-man

    22 years on death row....and all the taxpayers dollars. Part of the "deficit"........for years. Justice for the criminals and the victims wait for theirs....even if they get it....22 years later as this example.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. wilbur

    Sadly, the USA is now in the Dark Ages (Act II) and the Crusades continue. Instead of the Borgia Family.... we had the Bush Family. Instead of Caligula we had John F. Kennedy (sorry to pop anyone's mythical bubble about JFK).

    September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jersey wonderool

    Of course mother knows best. She must have been there. What do the witnesses know? May be we should conduct all criminal trials using what a mother or a father and if not possible, a brother or a sister or a daughter or a son,,,, We can save so much money and time by finding everyone guilty based just upon what a mother or a father or a.... thinks.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Not sure how mocking the mother makes this guy innocent but if you can make that connection good for you. Me? No I cannot sit here and say the mother of the MURDERED VICTIM should have no opinion.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      A jury and several appellate courts all said he deserves to be punished. Think before you post silly stuff like that.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
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