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. progreXive

    The American Banana Republic strikes again!
    Let us kill some more citizens, whether innocent or not.
    Revenge is served!
    Now go eat your bananas and await the next execution in name of "justice".

    September 20, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • justice

      I have a banana every morning for breakfast. I was happy to read this news while eating it. By the way, note the name.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  2. cruelhonesty

    This is right!!! It dont get no righter!!! To all of you pansy left wingers please pay attention. He killed someone, and he deserves to lose his life over it! How would you feel if somoene in your family was murdered? I could pull the triger on him myself!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Genung

      And how would it feel to be innocent of the crime– and KNOW who the guilty one was– and still be sentenced to DEATH

      September 20, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Objectivist

      And what evidence do you have? Oh, but I guess you believe what people tell you. Did the magic man in the sky come to you in your sleep and tell you that he did it?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Hannah

      Did you even read the article?? " of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony."

      September 20, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • powpursuits

      If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      Court found him guility, that's enough for me. He took an officer's life and he needs to go. The witnesses have contradicted there statements....20 years is a looooooong time to keep a memory straight. Doesn't surprise me there memory is a little fuzzy.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      Yeah!!! Kill him dead! And if it turns out he was truly innocent, kill the guy who injected him! Woo-Hoo!! Injections for everybody!!!


      September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Holly

      You would kill someone whose witnesses recanted their testimony in a case with a complete lack of evidence? YOU are the cold-blooded killer. At least us "left wingers" have a value for human life.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Amazed but not amused

      ..."I could pull the trigger myself" exactly the problem with the death penalty, it is truly revenge not justice.

      If 7 out of 9 witnesses have changed their testimony and there is little/no physical evidence, something seems fishy. I wonder what the whole story is here. Oh well, I guess we will never know.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • John T.

      My Dad died a few months ago, if I had found out he was murdered, I would kill that man myself. But before I killed him I had found out that he wasn't the one who did it, or there is some doubt in my mind that he didn't do it. I wouldn't kill him until I did find out. Thats just me.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      You guys act like he's going to walk out of prison even if they overturn it. Totally forgetting that he plead guilty to shooting the guy at the pool party earlier that day in the face. He's a murderer even if he didn't kill the cop. He'll still spent the rest of his life in jail. Do him a favor and let him die.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • cruelhonesty

      for god sake...the murder was in you think you would give a story detail for detail on something that happened 20 years ago. Just because someone "contradicts" their story a bit, does that seem fit to let the man off the hook? Oh, I get it...Poor Black Man right? People need to be held accountable for their actions....I WOULD LIKE TO PERSONALLY THANK THE GEORGIA PAROLE BOARD FOR STICKING TO THEIR GUNS!!! Enough with the poor man routine....they should shoot him IN THE FACE instead! Send a message that we are not a country that plays around!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • cruelhonesty

      Hey Holly, Did Mr. Davis have a value for human life? He admitted he shot the other guy at the pool party IN THE FACE! Does that sound like a man who couldnt possibly shoot a cop? But hey your right, lets go ahead and let us pay for him to sit in prison for the next 40 years....really?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Suz

      So you have the evidence to prove this man is guilty. Because the recantations cast plenty of reasonable doubt. Hope you never sit on a jury, seems like skin color is your proof, not actual evidence.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  3. cardo

    Wow! someone else did the deed! actually, I think that it was George W Bush. no, wait, it was a group of Republican congressmen, no wait, it was the House of Representatives, or maybe it was Dwight D Eisenhower (now there's a really evil guy, responsible for the death of 10's of millions in WWII).

    September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • ricardo

      nah, bush and cheney are NICE guys. rich, fat, stupid, selfish, white. real nice. ask the 150,000 victis of their illegal wars. oh wait, they're dead, no can do!. too bad!

      September 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cory (Humanzrstupd)

    Just six words: remember RAY KRONE. Wrongfully convicted, near-executed.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. justice

    Finallly! Now eliminate that scurge.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  6. AJ

    Could be a case of bad luck?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. NP

    Another Georgia lynching. Disgusting.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. chris

    wow! America is no worse than Iran

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Hasher Iva

      Go live 5 years in Iran and then make the comparison. I suspect that in Iran an article proclaiming someone's innocence wouldn't even be allowed to be published.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Republican

    bye bye d head!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jeremy

    Georgia is a sick state.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pete

    Some of the wounded just after the incident were denied access to medical treatment until the fuzz got their statements pinning it on Davis.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Georgia D.A.

    Don't you know that killin blacks in Georgia is legal if we think he might have done it.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ruderalis

    This guy looks like MC Hammer.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jane Doe

    This is barbaric. An eye for eye is simply hypocrisy. By executing this man the Governor looks tough on crime. It all boils down to politics and power ... . The death penalty is far more expensive than a life sentence.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  15. Gene Stiles

    "But there was physical evidence to tie Davis to the shooting. Earlier in the day Davis shot another fella at a pool party. He was convicted of shooting him in the face. The shell casings exactly matched the shooting of Officer MacPhail."

    September 20, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • nonya

      Before you say that, read the article correctly. I'll help you out "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. So they weren't absolutely sure that they were the same bullets.

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

      Sylvester Coles had the same kind of gun and the murder weapon was never recovered.

      And to all the people saying Davis plead guilty to shooting the man at the party... no he didn't. And the guy who was shot said he didn't know who did it and that Davis didn't even know him. The other witness said he didn't see who shot his friend and didn't know Davis.

      Coles admitted arguing with Young but stated that Davis had hit him with a pistol.[21] On cross-examination, Coles admitted that he also had a .38 pistol, but stated that he had given it to another man earlier that night.[18] A neighbor of the Davis family, Jeffrey Sapp, testified that soon after the murder Davis had confessed to him.[21] Kevin McQueen, a former fellow prisoner, testified that Davis had confessed to shooting MacPhail as he feared that the officer would connect him to the shooting of Cooper earlier in the evening.[22] Cooper testified that he was inebriated when shot and said that Davis "don't know me well enough to shoot me".[20] A friend of Cooper's, Benjamin Gordon, stated that the man who shot Cooper was wearing a white T-shirt, though on cross-examination he admitted he did not know Davis and had not seen the person who shot Cooper.[20] Darrell Collins, who had made an August 1989 police statement that he had seen Davis shoot at people in a car in Cloverdale and approaching MacPhail, recanted his statement under cross-examination by the defense, saying that he made the statement after threats by police with prison if he did not cooperate. He said in court that he had not seen Davis in possession of a gun or fire one.[20] No murder weapon – neither the gun owned by Cole nor that said to be owned by Davis – was recovered.[21] A ballistics expert testified that the .38 caliber bullet that killed MacPhail could have been fired from the same gun that wounded Cooper at the pool party, though he admitted doubt about this. However, he stated he was confident that .38 casings found in Cloverdale matched one allegedly later found by a homeless man near the scene of MacPhail's shooting.[23]

      For the defense, Davis' mother testified that Davis was at their Cloverdale home on August 19, 1989, until he left for Atlanta with his sister at about 9 pm[24] Davis denied shooting MacPhail, saying he had observed Coles striking Young after a quarrel about beer, but that he had fled before any shots were fired and did not know who had shot the officer. He also denied shooting Cooper.[24][25]

      September 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
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