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. Richard

    End the death penalty. . .now!

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

    No surprise here. The Board issued a defiant statement yesterday, stating that they alone would make the decision about Davis' fate. Actually, just telling all those "outsiders" that their intrusion in GA business was unwanted. They endured the hearing for show, and then made their announcement. GA is stuck in its racist past.

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

    "She said she would not attend Davis' execution but family members would be there."

    If mom cannot attend, there should be no execution. Clearly executing this man does not bring her relief.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Miss Demeanor

    A sociopath is someone who feels joy thinking of someone writhing in pain. You must feel gleeful imagining this black man spending eternity being tormented in hell. Rejoice... odds are you'll get to watch. Your fundamentalist hatred is revolting to God.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Lisa

    I just hope to God it doens't come out after he is dead that he was innocent. How many innocent has Rick Perry sent to their deaths and he admitted he doens't lose any sleep over it at all. Nice Christian values there Ricky Boy. In fact all you death penalty lovers are probably card carrying Christians. Screw you guys. It is okay to use the Bible to prop up ideas you agree with but where is the stoning for all the adulterers???? Hypocritical stupid 33sswipes.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • no

      what's a '33sswipe'?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    I believe in the death penalty and wished we used it more. But there must 100% proof of guilt, period. Cases like thise where a person could be innocent and yet the court still push forward anyway makes me sick as an American and as a person!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mary

    From Wikipedia: "On August 28, 1991, the jury, composed of seven blacks and five whites, took under two hours to find Davis guilty on one count of murder and the other offenses." This is not a racial issue, the jury had no doubts back then. One of the arguments his lawyers made was that it was an improper search at his mothers house where they found his shorts he was wearing in the dryer. Forensic evidence was taken from those shorts. The truth lies with his friend Darrell Collins, who was with him the entire night and witnessed everything. But all he is saying that he didn't see anything that would implicate Davis. He is not giving anything more than that, because he knows it will throw Coles under the bus. But he was with him when he shot the first guy and when they all started with the homeless guy later.

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

    I think the death penalty is not the worst punishment for some prisoners. For some people it's an escape from the hell of a life they live. Some should be kept in a dark small room under several feet of dirt and kept like animals, some should not have the RIGHT to die.

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

    You would not feel that way if it were your family member who may be innocent.

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

    The longer he delay's, the better the chance Obama will pardon him when we boot his butt out of office next year.

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

      The President does not have the authority to pardon a conviction of a state law.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Do you know how dumb that statement was?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Don't Judge

    US in one of only 23 countries that still carries out death penalty. Among others are Iran, North Korea, China, Libya, Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, etc... quite a company to be in!
    With its poverty rate, unemployment, crime and death penalty, US is a genuine third world country. Nice.

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

      I couldn't agree more !

      September 20, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Harold Trainer, USAF RET

      The death penalty is wrong. Sentence those found guilty of capital crimes to death by natural causes. The death penalty is not fairly applied. Do you remember many wealthy that are executed????

      September 20, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Percy

      This man murdered a law enforcement officer and there were 10 eye witnesses who gave testimony to that effect. Yes some have recanted years later under intimidation/fear and threats to their safety but bless the 3 who stood firm. Now justice will be served it should NOT have taken this long.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Dont Judge are you crazy this guy is a murderer and should be killed. 20 years is enough put him down and send him to hell..

      September 20, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      All I know is that If you commit a murder you should be executed no questions ask he knows he did it and he is trying too dodge a bullet well Mr Troy Wednesday You Finally will get whats coming but not a bullet ha-ha a well deserved NEEDLE

      September 20, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      @Harold Trainer, USAF RET – Good idea. Australia isn't a jail island any more, so let's send them to Greenland with no winter parkas. Then they will die of natural causes as you wish.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • OG

      Goes hand in hand with the great track record of fair and open elections

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Frans Vanhove

    Shame on you America ! No civilied country kills prisoners. Not ever ! Until you abolish this barbaric practice, the rest of the world will look upon you the way they look at Iraq, China, Sudan, North Korea, ...

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

      All I know is that If you commit a murder you should be executed no questions ask he knows he did it and he is trying too dodge a bullet well Mr Troy Wednesday You Finally will get whats coming but not a bullet it will be a well deserved NEEDLE

      September 20, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      The difference is, in America, you don't get the death penalty because you disagree politically with the party in power. You get it if you deserve it, it's earned!! If you want to be a sociopath and don't want to die yourself, go commit your crimes in states that don't have the death penalty. It's not every state that realizes that some people need to be sent along their way earlier than initially planned.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  13. Peace

    WOW...The Parole Board doesn't want to be wrong!!
    I do not see ANY PROOF that this man is Guility. I don't care his colour.
    Witnesses have recanted....ballististics don't prove he did it, etc... What more do they want.
    Blood, apparently. The System is Screwed. I'd be afraid to get a traffic ticket!

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

      Are you one of those 12 who released Casew Anthony? You sound as dumb as they are. Do you need a proof?
      Yes – police officer did shot himself two times and then a third time in the face.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Canuck

      So the witness recants because they don't want a man to die, even if he's guilty. Never doubt in the darkness what was revealed in the light. (not mine but I don't know who to credit it to)

      September 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. Emergency Man

    The nail on the head...great comment!!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. mphtmnslt

    So murder is wrong... and we're going to kill someone (with reasonable doubt to their guilt) to make that point?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • shak

      You said it. I cannot agree more.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
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