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. chris

    what ever happened to INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY?? Seems to me this man been labled and automatically accused of murder! 20yrs gone by and still no EXACT PROOF of him ACTUALLY doing the crimes?? America has accused numerous people of murder without full proof n looks like its happening again...not sayin Davis IS fully innocent but until they can show he is a killer he not a killer! We as people need to take these situations way more seriously into solving them instead of killing a man because we THINK he done it. If thats the case why shouldnt everyone be on DEATH ROW for being invloved in letting all these murders happen to these people bad or not! Bet that won't happen. Therse no such thing as justice in this world today

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

    Wow I am astonished by all the comments...this is why racism will never stop, because everyone who made the comments about him being black or people bring up if he was white they would of fried him already...really what does it really matter with the color of the skin, what matters is what the crime was. Then people bring in religion really what does religion have to do with any of this. People just need to learn to live there life and mind there own business because everyone that has made comments about how unfair or he needs to die will forgot about this guy in two weeks and life will move on. If he did the crime then he needs proper punishment because if any of you were in the family position right now. Every single one of you would be asking for the death penalty.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • sunny lovetts

      Wally makes sense, the rest of you are mentally ill.

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

    GASP, this guy actually appears like he might REALLY be GUILTY. I am going to read up on this...I would hate to become like Nancy Grace. I am sorry I posted a sarcastic comment about southern justice before seeing all the possible facts.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Renee

    blah, blah, blah to all you arm chair jurors. No of you really know, unless you were there that night. He may have, and he may not have. Any reasonable doubt is at least worth looking into before you plungers are hit. Be nice to know for sure.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob Marley

    How come the white guys on death row are always guilty, but the black guys on death row are just "victims of racial bias"? Where are the black celebrities coming to the rescue of the white death row inmates? I never see that happen. This is not justice, it's race politics.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. sunny lovetts

    Why is killing a cop worse than killing like 20 people? THERE ARE SERIAL KILLERS THAT DIDN'T GET THE DEATH PENALTY! All you who are cheering on his death are stating that the State is God, and anything underneath authority is worthless.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Miss Demeanor

      Is a wheat farmer a cereal killer?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • wilbur

      HaHa Miss: Hey.... I was at the pancake restaurant. I heard gunfire. IRAN. I got shot in the leg. Now... IHOP.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. DarkDrew

    Seriously, where do all these racist bigots come from. I dont understand how someone can live thier lives in hate and fear all the time. Its not productive, cute or funny. And I'm saying this as a white man. I can be hateful, but when a person deserves my wrath. Not a one of these racist people posting in these comments I've read know this person, So your hate is unjustified and unwarranted. Stop with the racism.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. Paul

    They should not execute a man with such enormous doubt looming. This officer's mother is taking out rage against anyone they had in custody. I feel for her pain but she too should not be quick to pull the trigger. This death will be on this woman's conscience forever even if she feels someone died for nothing. Her son was an officer to uphold the law and now there is no law left! The justice system is broken and innocent people are dying because of it.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  9. calvin

    To GOF & oh silly Calvin, You will Stand before Him One day and I pray your Soul will be right. You can laugh, scorn me, I am just a Man But God is the One who made You and Me. Your idea that He is a fantsy is as Unreal as You Fantasizing His Non-existence! In Jesus name I bind those spirits that has bound your ignorant thought and lose Healing

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

      Oh great another religious fruitcake! Your "jesus" is indeed a fantasy and a poorly designed one at that.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    Too much doubt? Not enough evidence? Death sentence is not fair for this man if there is not enough information to know what really happened. Casey Anthony got off easier with more evidence and still no one is to blame for the death of Caylee. Sad how the justice system is handled.

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

      Casey Anthony is a young and white. Davis is a black man in the South. Case closed.

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

    The problem is not religion by itself, but fundamentalists of every stripe. They like to have clear, sharp, simple distinctions, and they have a very quick noose, stone, or trigger finger for anybody who doesn't think or look like them. Fundamentalist Christians, Moslems, and Jews are like three peas in a pod.

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

    Kill him already. Several appeals, parole hearings, stays by the SCOTUS. Yeah, in 22 years the evidence, without doubt, points to him. Its been proven over and over. And honestly they shouldn't waste expensive chemicals on this guy. A $0.40 .45acp round to his head will accomplish the same thing.

    If people actully paid for taking a life with their own life there would probably be a lot less murder. Bleeding heart pansies would never allow that. They'd rather see these people released so they can kill again. NIMBY p.o.s. people.

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

      "If people actully paid for taking a life with their own life there would probably be a lot less murder."

      Actually, it's been proven time and time again that the death penalty simply does not work as a deterrent to murder. Look it up. States without the death penalty have consistently had lower murder rates than states with the death penalty.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Raymond

    Terminate with extreme prejudice.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. AuggieDoggy

    The glasses give him an "awwww" he looks so innocent and harmless. Guess he's not smiling now – bet he's wishing he'd kept that gun in his pocket, instead of smiling when he was shooting another human being in the face. Execution is not synonymous with "murder". It is justice, eye for an eye, tooth for tooth. Big tough guys should try and use their brains instead of pulling weapons. He's just getting special handling via expedite to see his maker a little sooner. Less $$$ for the taxpayers to shoulder, as if we haven't spent enough on him already, none of it out of pocket.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Emergency Man

    I'm straddling the fence on this one...how do you shoot someone in the face, pistol whip another, then evhemently deny killing someone??? On the other hand, if witnesses recant and evidence is shoddy, how'd he get convicted in the first place. You'd hate to believe race is a factor and in some cases may very well be, but again, i'm on the fence with this one and I'm a black man!!!

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