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. Harold

    your an ass

    September 20, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. Sean

    Wow, what a divide in the responses of the postings. Living for the last 40 years in the deep South after growing up in New England, I've seen firsthand these differences. What always surprised me most, is that the more religious (born again) Christians seemed to embrace the death penalty more then the average secular Christian. I for one, came to my views on capital punishment from a different angle. My older brother was a conscientious objector (CO), and avoided being deployed to Vietnam. What was unusual was, he enlisted to avoid the draft and was already in the Army. I on the other hand, was drafted during college because my credits dropped too low and was shipped to Vietnam. I see taking a life from a different angle, because I've actually had the misfortune of taking quite a few. Yes I know it was 'war' and it saved my life and others on our 'side', but I still killed a fellow human being. I also think I understand some of the anger victims families feel and want an eye for an eye, but this is to me quite uncivilized for any nation that prides itself of being founded on Judeo-Christian values! I'm sorry to say, there are no exceptions except possibly defending your nation and or your family with the covenant that God gave to Moses: You shall not murder.

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

      The bible says An eye for an eye! Whats the problem?

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

      Matthew 5:38-42 The plain instruction is, 'Suffer any injury that can be borne, for the sake of peace, committing your concerns to the Lord's keeping.' And the sum of all is, that Christians must avoid disputing. 'If any say, Flesh and blood cannot pass by such an affront, let them remember, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of God; and those who act upon right principles will have most peace and comfort.'

      September 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  3. Robert Paulson

    Here, in the south, I'm more scared of Baptists than I am of terroists.

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

      Wow, your an idiot

      September 20, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Hopey McChange

    Ahh. I see now, the victim is white, that would explain why the NAACP is fighting for clemency.

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

      The NAACP is fighting for justice regardless of the color of the victim.

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

      NAACP is fighting for justice regardless of the color,... ya Right??

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

      You need to grow up. People like you are the reason race is still an issue. Give it up already because it doens't matter if you are white, black, brown or yellow.

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

      Not true, the NAACP pick and choose depending on skin color, always have and will.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • unknown

      Putting this man to death is racial discrimination. The victims wife is not a Christina. She was not there.

      The bible says. THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "The NAACP is fighting for justice regardless of the color of the victim."____________________________________________________ They just fight based on the color of the convicted murderer. Don't try making them look all fair and balanced.

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

      Not sure your post makes a lot of sense, Hopey McChange because it can be read one way or the other. Either way, It always amazes and sickens me when people regard the color of ones skin to support or express horror for the potential for clemency. In this guys case, after all these years, witness recollection would obviously become tainted. Davis was a much younger man then. What he feels now is probably a lot different seeing how his own butt is on the line, but regardless of any death row killers color, they always seem to forget what they have done to someone else when it's time for them to pay the price. Suddenly...they're Angels from up above, wouldn't you say?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. debbie

    So he has never denied shooting someone in the face and pistol whipping a homeless guy, yet you think he's a pure angel that deserves another chance? Why – was he strung out on drugs and therefore should be exonerated for all crimes? No – it's apparent he was out of control that day for whatever reason and that he did commit the crime, he's just too cowardly to do the time. Stop making it a racist thing just because he's black. Doesn't matter – he did not follow what ALL society considers to be proper behavior so now be done with it.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. MattinVA

    What's sick is that people like you accuse the "pansies" on the left of letting a killer go free – when all they want to do is see justice served. Not justice in a revenge sense – but justice in a legal sense. Killing this man discredits our legal system. How are we supposed to have faith in a system that executes men based on suspect eyewitness testimony?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jay

    Convicted in 1991. Should have been executed in 1991. This is what's wrong with the "justice" system.

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

      so we could execute more innocent people like rick perry did? yup rick perry knowingly had an innocent man executed...true story.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • DarkDrew

      Immediate execution isnt going to work, you have to have a cooldown time period to go over the facts so that the execution is justified beyond 100% of a doubt.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. JustSayin

    The only charge against him that he is denying is the one that qualifies him for the death penalty. What if the guy he shot in the face had died? Does it make a difference that he lived? HE SHOT SOMEONE IN THE FACE! So are we all to believe that his violent outing just came to an end after he beat the homeless guy and then "someone" else picked up where he left off? Even for those of you who believe he did not kill the cop, this man is far from innocent

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

      Dick Cheney shot a man in the face....Im just sayin.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • raf

      You said it all. It's all about the basics and keeping it simple. What did he do and when did he do it? He did enough to get the shot in the arm. Just because the person he shot in the face didn't die, does that make it OK that Troy did it to another person. The homeless man took a beat down was that OK? If any of this is true, well Troy you be the judge!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. D Cleveland

    I've never admitted I've been wrong in 33 years also but it doesn't mean I'm right! A new trail should be allowed...if he is proven guilty then let the punishment stand.....but under the cloud of doubt he should have a new trail.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. BabyGyrl

    I am with everybody elses comments on this case. If there are doubts then he should get life in prison not execution. Besides by killing him is not gonna bring that person back. What if in the end he is found out to be innocent then that means the state killed a person who did not do it. The witnesses changed their stories because i think that they are being threatned.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  11. benny v

    I agree he shouldn't be executed if there is doubt, and their surely is... but he did shoot a man in the face at a pool party, and then pistol whipped a homeless person. If these events are true, then... I don't know. It's not like he was just innocently walking by and happened to be black, he was already raising hell and is lucky the man at the pool party wasn't killed.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. angryersmell

    Whoa, whoa. So he shoot another man in the face at a pool party, and then went to a convienience store where he pistol whipped a man with the same pistol, then casings found from that pistol were found where the cop was killed and at the pool party...

    ...yeah, he sounds innocent alright. Good luck on the other side, Troy.

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

      Never trust a cop especially if you are in the rural south, Savannah qualifies, and black. Mostly don't trust cops.

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

      No- You have a great time on the other side...of hell..because your without a doubt going there. Your moral character and lack of human compassion speaks leaps and bounds.....not to mention your clear ignorance. After this life – you will doubtingly burn Hitler....goodluck with that

      September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. JoeNJ

    I have to agree with bolaji09. IF he is guilty of the act without a shadow of a doubt then perhaps he deserves his fate but as long as there is a debate then it should be investigated. In the grand scheme of things however, (and my brother is a living testimony of this fact) when you associate with violence, drugs, alcohol in excess and in a very careless manner giving no regard to law and order or common human decency, if you did it or not, you were there. If you were drunk or not, you were there. The choices you make bring you to a point. Now if he stopped in for gas and they say he shot the officer its just too out there. But with the pool party shoot out, then the convenience store and then the officer. the trail is kinda hard to ignore. I wanna know where are the people that helped him escape from the pool party, then the convenience store and finally got him to the scene of the murder? why weren't they prosecuted???

    September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. sunny lovetts

    Fact of the Day:
    Most people under and above this post are going to Hell.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • no

      fact of the day: you're a fool

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

      you too pal.....

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

      'Hell' is a made-up concept. It was invented by Christian writers (Dante for example) and was adopted by the Church as the fear of the graphic descriptions were useful. Think Santa Claus only the reverse. Nothing like controlling little children (e.g.) with a Vision of HellFire and Santa Claus.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • sunny lovetts

      I love God. I love life. And I love truth. Most these people despise all of the above.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • sunny lovetts


      September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Capitan

      Fact of the day:

      You can't prove or disprove the existence of hell. Therefore you can't state that it is a fact that everyone who posted on this story is going to 'hell.'

      September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • no

      According to your religion, only your 'god' can make the determination and judgement on who goes to 'hell' or not. So, why are you playing 'god'? Your god is angry with you now. Good job, fool.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. perryw

    hahaha... swing him high!!!

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