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. Unicorn lover

    Anyone single? 😉

    September 20, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. hmmmm

    hey, most people in the south don't believe in evolution, why would they believe in justice?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. tony_a

    Seven of nine who testified against him recanted their sworn testimony, questionable physical evidence, and yet the system still want to proceed with the man's execution. What's wrong with this picture?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. melvinslizard

    What does killing a cop, beating a homeless man, and shooting a friend at a crowded home during a party say about society? I'm not saying he's guilty (I don't know either way!!). What I am saying is that the jury was 7 blacks and 5 whites. Don't label this as a case of white people killing black people "just because." And, for every ounce of outrage this may create in you, may there be corresponding outrage for the execution of this police officer!
    Now, take all that rage, and go try to find THE TRUTH.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. missyme

    Ok, this man should not be going through this. I studied under crim j for years, and have the biggest respect for people who do this. But this case should not be going on, I have had profs who have said that anytime you watch an execution, then it is on your heart, bc whatever happened u still play god. That is not our place. If he is innocent, it will come out and it will bite everyone in this case. Idk, if he did it, but in order to convict you must have proof and frankly, there isn't any. Yes, he murdered another person, but you have thousands who walk free today for the same thing and worse. It is sickening how insanely evil some of you sound. Take out the politics and the racism, a man is going to be put to death for a case that isn't solid. If it were you, then I guarantee you will be fighting for your life.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I wouldn't have shot another person in the face, pistol whipped another and then shot a cop (allegedly) so, there is no way I can relate to Davis' predicament.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. drew2505

    We seem to have forgotten the victim. SHe has been dead over 20 years while her killer has lived, and the lawyers have gotten rich taking advantage of a system with a milllion loopholes. You can rest assured his defence came up with every possible scenario to try and input some doubt–after all, it is in thier best financial interest to do so. I have to beleive that he is guilty–as they have spent twenty years ( unsucessfully) trying to prove he wasnt.

    Killing another isnt the answer. Changing the legal system is.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • C Castine

      obviously you don't know much about the case, because a SHE wasn't killed, a HE was. also, i believe in the death penalty and i believe in justice, but there is WAY too much doubt in this case to go ahead with the execution. why would the system not postpone and delve deeper into the issue?

      September 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • cindy a

      I'm pretty sure Mark was a "he' not a "her"....:)

      September 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • kb

      it takes a LOT for an FBI director, former president, and 7 out of 9 witnesses to all stand up and support someone they believe is innocent...in fact this is a very rare case. the death penalty is meant to be reserved for those prisoners in which there is no doubt in their guilt. here, there is not only doubt, there is global support of the doubt. the georgia pardons board should have granted clemency – even if just to give him life without parole until anything further can be proven. this decision is a failure in the legal system. it is not a failure in the memory and respect for the victim and family of the deceased to stop an execution, what would be a failure is executing someone then later finding out that they were wrong. it would then be on the family, prosecutors, and board for executing an innocent man and letting the real killer get away. it has been years and they have been unable to forgive, which is in their own right, but for the georgia pardons board to take our legal system and use it for revenge instead of retribution is just wrong.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenniffer

      Well that goes to show that you have done absolutely ZERO research into this case. It wasn't a woman who was killed, it was a MAN! You don't even know who the victim was so why do you consider yourself capable of even speaking in this case?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kristal

    would You allow 4 just any1 to get the death penalty because u need your pound of flesh (No) the family know this murderer to be guilty let justice run its course the right man got the proper judgement.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Slapnuts

    the white men have done it again. They are out to kill another black man and the mother of the victim is a racist and wants this man put to death despite the fcat he might be innocent. She want be able to sleep at night if htis man dies cause peole are going to be on her beep.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      I am an African American male and if the following is true this guy has got to be take off of the planet.

      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.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • C.

      Who else was there? That may be the real killer??? Who else???

      September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      Slap your threats have been reported. You just can't get on the Net and threaten to harm people.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Dumbest comment of the day. This has NOTHING to do with race. ABSOLUTLEY NOTHING. Crying racism every single time a black guy is convicted of a crime, is getting very old. This man shot one person, pistol whipped another, and killed a cop. End of story.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. truth hurts

    may the most high forgive these vengeful creatures for they know not what they do.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Linanunez

      Amen

      September 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • He Knew

      Yes, they commit crimes for which a jury hears the evidence and then convicts them. So, they indeed need God's mercy when they are sent to the death chamber. But they certainly knew what they had done. End of story.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gary

    They plan to execute this man with "Reasonable doubt" that he did not commit this crime.
    I have Never been to Georgia, and have no plans to go to that backward state.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      It's not that bad, and Davis is a piece of work who already shot a man that same night. If every Georgia trial went this way, this wouldn't even make the news. This case has been cursed by a desire for revenge and the people who should have said "We're going too fast" didn't say it. Savannah's a great place with a lot of nice people.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BankRollRibe

    This Makes me MaD !

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mom in MA

    So 'general' evidence is enough to prove someone guilty but it's not good enough to prove someone innocent?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ckive

    How much longer must we continue this Barbaric Practice of Death Penality Executions. The US is one of the only "Civilized" country in the world that continues this insane practice.
    Its no accident that the majority of executions done in this country are on minorities.
    In many cases minorities and poor whites do not get proper representation in the judical system In many cases they are definded by poorly trained inexperienced " Legal aide" lawers who let crucial evidencery practices fall through the cracks and in many cases are not given the benefit of the doubt bt seasoned White Judges.
    The Troys Davis case reeks to high heaven. Here we have 7 of the 9 Prosecution whtnesses changing their story. There evidence was used to convict Trop Davis, There is NO DNA No other Physical evidence linking Dacis to the Murder, BUT when a Black Man is accused of killing a White Cop he is goin to fryl Good ole Georgia Justice. Where is Decective First Class Tibbs fron in the " Heat of the Night" to solve this case. We may have a Black Man in the White House BUT very little has changed in Georgia.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ARPI

      you don't get it guys! he is black that's why....

      September 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Man, it's Georgia that's complaining about the trial more than any other place. We don't want this hung around our necks. The trial wasn't handled any better than Casey Anthony's was.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. StanC

    jee I am surprised that obama and that holder have not blamed all the white people for this killing because davies was so abused by all the white people in the south, hook him up, and say good by to thw real world and get to meet the devil,

    September 20, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. cindy a

    Oh Please, I am so sick of hearing of this poor black man being treated so unjustly. You scream black cause its the only thing you have to use to your own benefit. A jury said this man killed a cop. Common sense kind of tells us teh same thing. Look at the events of the day. Obviously he shot someone else a little earlier in the face. Then he pistol whips someone and at the same place a cop gets shop 3 times with one of those shots being in the face and you still scream they are unjustly killing a black man???LOLOL....If America still hated blacks as you claim they sure as hell wouldn't have put one in he White House in the highest office of this country. Population wise blacks are still a minority. Obama didn't get there without the white mans votes!! Shove it with your racist card BS.. Cry me a river!

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