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. jim

    may the same befall youre children, daveinsc.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Good job! He has lived for 20 years more than he deserved already.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. maplejet

    We still do not know 100% if this guy Davis did kill the police officer. As long as we are unsure, he needs to remain in prison alive. Because...what if we find out year later after he's executed that...someone else committed the crime? It's more chaos. It's better for him to remain in prison alive.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr. Lowe

      I concur. Putting someone to death based on fuzzy evidence....let alone having almost 90% of the witnesses change their story, is an example of a dysfunctional and DANGEROUS justice system. I'm not saying FREE the man, but if it can't be proven that he murdered the cop, then he should stay in prison alive and serve time for the other crimes. Simple as that. People just want to kill somebody so they can feel better about the situation.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  4. 2/8

    So this man is put to death with the lack of evidence.....and Casey Anthony walks free? Really?

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

      Yes, really. And in both cases, the prosecution and law enforcement had their heads up their @s.ses.

      Why is it that people make this about Davis and Anthony, when in fact we should be talking about law enforcement and the prosecution NOT DOING THEIR JOBS?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Gary

    There is such a blood lust in this country for the death penalty right now. Its a non-reversible sentence. I'm not anti death penalty as such but am against ignoring new facts that could determine guilt or innocence. The state that executes an innocent man has committed murder. Maybe what we need is judicial responsibility. If you are the judge, jury or review board in a case that pushes for and executes a person that is later proven to be innocent then you should be liable for a charge of murder. Would definitely give more credence to "Beyond a reasonable doubt" if you know that if you get it wrong it's your butt.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mike

    kill him quick. he's a racist dirty pig!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Henry Bowman

    The State has no right to execute anyone. If one innocent person has ever been put to death (there have been a whole lot more than that), then the state administered death penalty is an abomination. Remember, when the government can do, with impunity, something that they would arrest and imprison (or execute) you for, then you live in tyranny.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rudi

    This is our spirit today .....we are not truth seekers but cover up seekers.....how many DA's will not admit a mistake just to save there butt...thanks... what if we make a mistake? oh yes...sorry..... wwwTheDimensionMachineDOTcom

    September 20, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Justlew

    If we have concrete evidence but with all the questions looming over this case we should wait...taking another mans life will not bring back another..look to God for closure after all these years.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. Devildog

    To my friend bill wilcox i love u but you need help only if you knew stay calm keep your felling out of it.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  11. boooner

    would the real killer please step forward!!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • DetroitFrank

      He will step forward after the injection works.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Corvus1

    Looks like a bunch of Georgia good ol' boys are going to kill themselves a n**ger!

    The MacFails can rot in hell.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Buddy

    I am not a racist I just thing the n....r should fry cause he killed someone!

    September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  14. hippediva

    What did anyone expect south of the Mason-Dixon line? There is no justice there, nor anything resembling humanity. Or sense--because GA will be on the hook for the millions they will have to pay Davis' family once they lose the court battle post-execution.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. smass

    Buh bye

    September 20, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
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