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
Post by: ,
Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (2,336 Responses)
  1. Lucy

    How can you say it's about race? Every time a black person is the subject, it's about race? Enough already. The guy committed crimes. End of story.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  2. Let him ride the lightning

    He should be fried on a low wattage and then be fed to his fellow inmates for next day's lunch–just as we should do with any and all deer road kill.

    Ain't it great how CNN leaves out every inculpating fact that they possibly can–not just in the report on this death penalty case but in their reports on all death penalty cases.

    Was he in possession of the casings-matching-gun when arrested??

    September 20, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      "Was he in possession of the casings-matching-gun when arrested??" No gun found, but he had one like that earlier. See what I mean? I'd give him life on this evidence, but not the death penalty; it's just too thin. Late at night and every witness drunk or stupid, and the court full of angry people wanting revenge for a good cop? And hey, my friend was a Savannah cop shot dead in a firefight, and the killer is filing nuisance lawsuits about the food thirty years later, so don't start up about 'bleeding hearts.'

      September 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. confused citizen

    A White man kills a woman (all evidence leads to his taking part in the murder) and is forgiven.

    A Black man is merely accused of killing a white cop- no concrete evidence ever given & most witness accounts were proven to be falsified and redacted- and is executed.

    And that victim's mother.. honestly feeling that killing a potentially innocent man is justice and that the his death will give her closure..

    This country is falling backwards every day.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • lancemick

      Innocent? Guilty? None of us on this forum know for sure. One thing I do know for sure, those opposed of his execution are opposed to ANY execution. Regardless of innocence or guilt. You have to keep that important distinction in mind when reading sensationalized articles like this.

      Also, make sure you do not miss the clarification the state made in this article about the ballistics, here it is:

      "
      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.
      "

      Coincidence? Logically speaking, I think not.

      Lastly, remember, its the board that votes against clemency that is truly privy to ALL facts in the case. And, it is them who have to live with their decision. Its only logical that they are using more reason to determine the facts than those who simply oppose executions in general.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      He is probably guilty, and he's a fool anyway, but there has been a lot of vindictiveness about this trial from the start. He got the railroad treatment all the way to the death house, and everyone knows it. The law must be seen to be fair, and justice must be seen to be done, and when there are questions of fairness they must be addressed.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  4. glu

    This man is the poster child for what a murderer should look like.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      What, a confused pop-eyed fool? With bad hair? It's not as scary as that cover of Michele Bachmann, or Mel Gibson's mug shot. Davis is the poster boy for stupid.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Random Mitchell

    He should be hanged, drawn and quartered for what he did. As it is now, he'll go out peacefully and in no pain. Is that justice?

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

    A tremendous amount of people believe he's innocent. I think he's a fool, and probably guilty of enough stuff anyway to do twenty years hard labor, and I won't miss him. But someone's going to whip out a gun and cack some peace officer, saying 'Here's one for Troy,' and then we'll have more grief. This trial has been vindictive from the start with people clamoring for his death, and it's made enemies for the law instead of supporters. He should have gotten life and we'd be done.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tee

    7 blacks were on the jury that recommended the death penalty. They had the majority and still found him guilty.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. lancemick

    Innocent? Guilty? None of us on this forum know for sure. One thing I do know for sure, those opposed of his execution are opposed to ANY execution. Regardless of innocence or guilt. You have to keep that important distinction in mind when reading sensationalized articles like this.

    Also, make sure you do not miss the clarification the state made in this article about the ballistics, here it is:

    "
    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.
    "

    Coincidence? Logically speaking, I think not.

    Lastly, remember, its the board that votes against clemency that is truly privy to ALL facts in the case. And, it is them who have to live with their decision. Its only logical that they are using more reason to determine the facts than those who simply oppose executions in general.

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

      See, all that means is that Saturday Night Specials are everywhere. Like I said, he probably did it, but let's try to actually prove it. I'd give him life with no argument on that evidence.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gazza

    Since when did the victim's mother become a legal expert?

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

      that what im saying. i would not be able to live with myself if this guy is executed and your not 100% sure, or worse yet after the fact when something comes to light and he is shown to be innocent. killing some guy 22 years after the fact would not bring any closure to me. the only closure i could possibly have for somebody killing my father would be if i saw the person do it, or knew for a fact it was him, and killed him with my bare hands. otherwise, he can sit in jail the rest of his life.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      You're right, the family doesn't know what happened here. In fact, with 7 witnesses recanting, the majority of the trial testimony they may have heard is a pack of lies. This case needs to be settled in court and not by emotional family members who did not witness the crime.

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

      "This case needs to be settled in court and not by emotional family members who did not witness the crime."_____________________________________________________________ This case WAS settled in court and now it's time to pay for crimes commited.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      Tee: 7 witnesses who have recanted their testimony and claim that they were intimidated by police to lie on the witness stand means that it was not settled in court. Maybe you can ignore 1 or 2 recanting witnesses....but 7???

      September 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Since when is Susan Sarandon and the 20 other anti-death penalty people in this piece legal experts? They weren't asking the mother for a legal opinion. They probably should not execute this guy I suppose, but more importantly if someone has to wait this long they should not be executed. If someone gets the death penalty I think the state has 5 years to execute them or else the person should be allowed off of death row. Its ridiculous.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • catharsus

      At the same time all these legal experts making comments on the article saying Davis is innocent.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pitoy

      this guy is guilty as fcuk.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Too much emotion here. If this had been done coldly and unemotionally, he would have gotten life in a crummy prison and there wouldn't be all these questions. This way, there's a chance that some other fool will confess one day and laugh after Davis has been executed, and what kind of monument for MacPhail would that be? And yeah, I'm with Pitoy – he already shot one guy non-fatally that same day, and he probably did this.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amy

    One would have to be completely dumb and a waste of air not to see that the evidence points to this man being innocent. I doubt there will be a sane person left on that board within the next 5 years. This poor man is losing his life because they lack the competency to see things rationally and for that they should honestly join the ranks of the unemployed. I think there could be a committee formed of their peers who would wholeheartedly agree. We wonder why this country is falling to pieces. Stupidity should be painful. If I ever came across one of these board members in public I don't think I could even be around filth like that, makes me ashamed that we are all the same species.

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

      Huh?? And you got all that out of a one-page article? Amy....dear...the country IS falling to pieces, I'm afraid. But it is due to the stupidity of lemmings like you who can so easily be led to a conclusion that this bleeding-heart liberal web site wanted you to.

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

      Innocent I doubt that very much but is there enough evidence to put him to death. I do not think so. I do support the death penalty but only if the evidence is undeniable. I mean what if thursday morning comes and someone discovers he didn't pull the trigger? What will they say? Oops!?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • justice

      The board members should recieve bonuses for jobs well done in this case.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      The only travesty here is that it takes 22 years to execute someone. They should have a time limit on appeals of 6 months, that's long enough. There is a good reason to believe that spending time on death row is cruel punishment in itself. The anxiety, for 22 years, must be awful.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pitoy

      I'm a bleeding heart liberal but I see this guy's face and all I know is this guy is guilty as fcuk.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • catharsus

      @Pitoy: You didn't have to say that you're a bleeding heart liberal. If you can make a judgment about someone's guilt based on the look on his face, then you automatically attain that lofty appellation.

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

    Because killing him is the only life-affirming christian thing to do – right?

    September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. C Castine

    are you guys kidding me? black guys that kill people don't wear glasses. only creepy white guy killers wear glasses. obviously, he is innocent based on his glasses alone.

    September 20, 2011 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      LOL! ...that's some funny shiit.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mom in MA

    Funny, we have two men on the front of CNN. One black sentenced to death for a murder he says he never committed, no ballistic evidence to prove he did, eye witness (which is proven to unreliable) who have since recanted... and he is going to die. On the other side is a white man who admitted to murdering a woman.. he is free and walking around.. no doubt there folks just murder and he is free and walking around. And people say there is nothing wrong with our justice system.. yeah right.

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

      Welcome to Georgia. Sounds like the New South is the Old South.

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

      What a brilliant observation!!! Only black men have been executed on death row!! Not white men!!! Oh, uh, wait...that's not true at all. In fact, there have been more white men executed than black. I take it back...that wasn't such a brilliant observation after all. You're just one of the lemmings who fell for the righteous indignation angle that cnn.com was going for.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MAVF

    I think should be a reality check for African-American males in particular. Our judicial system has been tainted for over 400 years, with African-Americans being the victim. Our young men need to know that if a system systematically incarcerates black men at far higher rate than white men, then we need to say away from the system. It is a biased and racist system. Our men often think that the system is fair, but it's not. Look at the numbers. If the system is willing to lock up innocent individuals for long periods of time,what makes you think that it will stop any execution. This was a white cop, and it doesn't matter if the person is innocent, this society wants to send a message that you don't kill a white and no one pays for it...even if he/she may be innocent. Welcome to America!!!

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

      oh no oj. we don't place ethnic loyalty above integrity and justice as one race in particular does

      September 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • JEx

      Your "Men" need to stop being gang bangers. Troy was a gang banger, end of story. No white man put him in that boat, his black "brothers" did. Should've been a decent participating member of society and get an education and an actual job.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      You raised them like animals. What do you expect of them?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • What?

      America hasn't even existed for 400 years, how could the justice system be tainted that long?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sdgsgsds

    they r just doin this cuze hes african american. if a white guy did this he would get 25 to life not death.

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

      You expect people to take you seriously with grammar and spelling as atrocious as that?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • catharsus

      Geee, I dunt theenk sow, sgdgdss. I thank thay wudda kilt the white guy two if hee hadda kilt sumboddee. (I mite haff misspelt that last wurd).

      September 20, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubba

      Really, it isn't black or white as much as it is the cop's family crying in court and demanding his death, and all of the witnesses are the kind of people who hang around the bus station at night. That bus station is a fricken death trap and nobody goes there alone at night unless they are a certain kind of crazy. LadyDi, he probably IS guilty, and that isn't the point anymore. No one believes he got a fair trial, and some idiot's going to shoot at a cop for 'revenge,' and this will go on and on.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75