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. CJ

    If there is any doubt at all it may be better to keep in in jail for life. You can not un-execute someone.
    If there is certainty he did it you can not un-murder his victim.

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

    Reposting:
    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."

    September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • AzHitman

      To the ignorant racist black person, "Those black people must be a bunch of Uncle Toms", lol.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • J. Smith

      I know that polygraph's are not exact, but shouldn't the guy get at least that before they take his life?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Ms. C.

    In order for this mother to move on and demonstrate a loving heart, she must forgive. The healing process will never begin if she continues to hang on to hate.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
    • treehugger

      I could not agree more, and I say this as someone who has lived through a similar nightmare–the main difference being the man who killed my father admitted that he did it. He is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

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

      I agree it id the only way...she wants someone to pay but when I look at his eyes they say innocnet...I couldnt stand it if I had an innocent person killed ......I hate this

      September 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. AzHitman

    You are getting this simply execution of a killer mixed up with, the politics of Obama. One killed a cop the other is in the process of killing a nation.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  5. West

    As an American I find it disturbing that we are a nation of small, vengeful, un-Christian hypocrites. If we've lost our standing in the world, it's as much because of each one of us as it is because of our leaders. As Pogo said, we have met the enemy and he is us.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. treehugger

    ""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."

    First of all, any family member who insists on the death penalty should be required to attend the execution. You want someone to be murdered? Have the guts to go and witness it.

    Secondly, she should forgive the person who murdered her son, as I forgave the man who murdered my father. Her life will improve dramatically if she does.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. Danielle Coley

    This family truly disgusts me. Casey Anthony, who murdered her own child in cold blood, walks away scott free, but an INNOCENT man is about to be put to death. This family is gonna rot in hell for their poor judgement. #IAmTroyDavis

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

      "INNOCENT man"?

      Do yourself a favor and research the facts in this case before posting your ridiculous comments... your ignorance is no excuse for your stupidity.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Preacher

      Troy Davis is burning in hell.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Renee

    I don't know if he did it or not. One thing I can say is there is a doubt. I know that when someone kills a cop they go looking for the person much harder than if it was me or you. Also they want to find the person. It seems to me he was in the wrong place at the right time for the cops. Has the whole story been told. Why did people wait so long to change there statements? Did something happen to make them say what they did? Who are the people left that has not changed there statement. I just hope and pray that GA government is doing the right thing. Or will it be years down that road after he is died that they find out it was a mistake. My God have mercy on all of them. If it happens Troy if you didn't do it you are going home to the Lord may he bless you and keep you. To his family know that God not man knows best.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. carlos

    people...it is the south...enough said.....

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

      Georgia, you are making a grave mistake. It is far worse for an innocent man to be condemned than it is for a guilty man to walk free.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. AzHitman

    A desperate guy, scared to die will do or say anything.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. BABA NE'GAH

    truth be told

    September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  12. Falcor

    hippediva, what a gross and offensive generalization.

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

      If this country is so-pro capital punishment, then why do they try so hard to make it , handsoff automated.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. curious

    If it's true that you are a member of both, then what you just wrote was very stupid. Just saying

    September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. Laurence C

    Based on reports of the witnesses claiming police harassment to say that this fellow committed the crime was and now recanting testimony, this looks like another cover-your-ass decision by the state to avoid a law suit for incompetent police work and to not at least grant clemency is a miscarrage of justice.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  15. mabear87

    What do you expect? The South is still a bigoted, non-Christian area. The board and all the judges should be the ones being executed. I do not understand how people can be so stupid and so active to execute people who were convicted on false evidence. Obviously they are all Muslims.

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