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. Tee

    Save the speech for his eulogy.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Juan-Miguel Turkington

    I was taught that when someone was charged with a crime, it took a jury (or appelate judge) to find him not guilty. Now apparently, it only takes protesters and hand-wringing clerics to make him "innocent". What I think about that I certainly can't write here without being banned for life. What I can say is this: Where are all the weeping hand-wringers when police and innocent victims are being buried? Mr. Davis, Kumbaya this!

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

      @Juan-Miguel: What you should've learned is that the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff. This man has (or, rather, SHOULD have) no legal obligation to prove his innocence. The prosecution's obligation was to prove his guilt, which, if you listen to the million-plus against the sentence, they have yet to do.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nosycat

    Whether you agree or disagree with the death penalty, it is the punishment in Georgia as well as many other states. This inmate has had 5 different hearings on his conviction over the past 22 years and has never presented new evidence nor new witness testimony either from original witnesses at the trial or new expert testimony on the old evidence presented at the trial. The state has done all it can to accomodate this inmate, but nothing has been shown that would invalidate the jury verdict.

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

    This guy shot someone else and pistol whipped another before he even killed a cop it's time for the excuses to STOP! Enough is enough, common sense rules and color does not matter so STOP using race because people DO NOT want people like this on the street of any color.

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

      this guy is a maggot his 15 min will be over soon. night night

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

      Mike, keep in mind that if he did not kill the officer then he also didn't pistol whip the customer. He was there to do both or neither. No one ever said there were other assailants in the convenience store. Now as for earlier shooting another man in the face, I can't comment on that. It's a long way from a pool party dispute to a capital murder. The alleged evidence of guilt is too risky for to kill a man with it.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  5. luvlee83

    7 witnesses recanted? America is psycho.

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

    Good riddance to this sociapathic fool. Should have been done 20 years ago.

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

    "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."

    Could that be a form of torture? Seems cruel and unusual to me.

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

      I agree. Get it over with!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. paulm5545

    Were the seven black jurors also ignorant and racist?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. GAgirl2887

    What does color matter? IT DOESN'T and IT SHOULDN'T. I very much so believe a new trial should have been the outcome, but sadly – it wasn't. I believe they just want someone to blame so he is the person of choice because of other things he chose to do. Killing him will not bring someone back nor should it make someone feel better about the situation. I believe if I were the family of the officer, yes – I would want someone to pay for what they've done for my family. BUT, I would want it to be the person responisble. Why should an innocent person suffer for something they did not do? While the true killer has been walking the streets, FREE for 20 years?

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

      Perhaps you were an eyewitness to the crime.Did you recant your testimony also?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Wolfgang Nordmeyer

    The U.S. is a land of mentally sick people. Does it come as surprise that there is such a willingness to kill someone whose guilt is in doubt when just last year the U.S. forced 23 million to die because the committed the "sin" of being to poor to afford health insurance. Let's see, if the evil Nazi's killed 6 million because of their religion over the course of a multiple year war, and the U.S. killed 23 million in one year because they were poor, do the math. In one year the US killed almost 4 times as many in one year as the Nazi's killed during WWII. Yeah – let's all be proud Americans – NOT!

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

    Justice delayed is truly Justice denied. He should have been put down 19 years ago.

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

    He is a very BAD Man, now he found God an he sorry 4 his crime. Much love Bro. but you need 2 GO.

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

      Hey if he really found God, he is forgiven and "to live is Christ to die is gain". He should be excited to go! It's going to be better than anything he had down here.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gary

    This murder has been sitting in jail for 20 years? Its time to put this dog down for good.

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

      He has been no threat to anyone for 20 years, guilty or not. Over another 20 he would remain do threat. On this comment page I have seen a lot of wannabee cold blooded murders calling for the death of a man who is of no threat to anyone. How is that different than all of you standing behind Davis prodding him to shoot? You are calling for a cold-blooded revenge killing.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  14. Justice for ALL

    Sorry. Ole Troy shot a man earlier in the evening then pistol whipped a white homeless man when Officer McPhail intervened. Ole Troy SHOT HIM IN THE HEART AND IN THE FACE! A cold-blooded emotionless HATE CRIME even though he was not charged with a hate crime. Make your peace Ole Troy. You're about to meet your Maker!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jaymes

    He's going to burn. I hope he had a great 22 year stay at the tax payers cost.

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

      You are real a low life....You can expect the same judgment from God that you deserve for all the wrong you have done in your life. No Mercy for you. All sin is equal in the eyes of God....big or little.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      He shot two other people with witnesses!!! This guy is a nuisance and needs to go and go soon.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • lwilrey

      I agree, fry him already.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Ralf The Dog

      Joe, there is a difference between shooting someone and killing someone. You don't execute someone if the victim lived.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • SoM

      For a country that boasts that its foundation was built on Christian faith. You sure do have a thirst for vengence. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't capital punishment given to those who are guilty without a doubt? As it seems, there may be a possibily of an inocent man close to dying for someone elses crime. Does that not raise doubt in anyone in the justice system?

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