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. conservative

    When the history books are written, will those who had an opportunity to right a wrong be viewed as having done so? It seems that it might be better to allow a guilty person to serve a life sentence than to kill an innocent man.....

    September 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. coco

    regardless of whehter it was a cop killed or another random individual his track of violence is evident and should not be ignored. Shooting someone in the face is bad enough. We should go back to an eye for an eye justice system...

    September 20, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. truth hurts

    This is nothing more than a modern day lynching. may the most high send more tornadoes, floods fires, and drop more planes and stages on these wicked people.

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

      So according to you any person who is Black, and due to the color of their skin, is automatically innocent no matter if they commit a crime but you would still wish disasters anyway for others to contend with when justice has been served. What kind of a person are you other than extremely biased in favor of a person's race!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. zhaoyun

    Murder someone, get executed. Race has nothing to do with it.

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

      Do sloppy and unprofessional police work, be you a cop or a prosecutor, and you should be held accountable. Guilt or innocence has nothing to do with it.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom Legare

    "Old times there are not forgotten look away look away look away Dixie Land". Heck we'll just keep killing people until we get one right!! Especially them black ones!!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bob_lawbla

    Why did 7 of 9 witnesses recant their statements? When did they recant? What was their justification? Perhaps they were pressured by all the media attention. Perhaps they realized they had some influence? 7 of 9 witnesses said they lied before, what makes everyone so positive their not lying now? Who knows how many people this useless POS would have killed or maimed had he not been put in jail back.

    What really gets me is the media and defense lawyers posting pictures of these bespectacled, cleaned up gang-bangers when they should be showing them in their normal street attire. Anyone can put lipstick on a pig.

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

      "Why did 7 of 9 witnesses recant their statements? When did they recant? What was their justification? Perhaps they ..."

      Rather than speculate, why don't you look it up? This article said, at one point today (though it doesn't any longer for some reason), that at least some of the witnesses claim that the prosecution and the police pressured them (e.g. threatened to jail them on minor infractions because they were on parole if they didn't finger Davis in court), and also that one of the two witnesses that has not yet recanted may actually be the shooter.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. James

    This garbage, already had shot one person and then viciously attacked a homeless person for no reason, but you racists want to say he's innocent of killing a police officer? Get a life, the criminal is getting what he deserves. The NAACP should be sued to recover tax money used to stay this creatures life.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TheJury HasRuled

    Read carefully what the Judge had to say about this case. Then also read carefully what Georgia's Attorney General had to say after reviewing the evidence. This is why we have the DEATH PENALTY in the United States of America, to administer JUSTICE to those who have been convicted of committing crimes. We cannot judge a person by how they look or their skin color or who seeks to protect them solely on that basis but for what they did and if a jury found them guilty, those are the people who listened to every shred of the evidence presented and who know the *facts* about the case and have ruled from those facts which were presented. May God have mercy on his soul.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hazel

    Am I reading this correctly? He admits, or at lease there is no doubt, that he shot a man in the face at a pool party, then pistol-whipped another man? Not an upstanding young man, is he? Execute him...long overdue.

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

      I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot no deputy...

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

    It was wrong to kill the cop and it is wrong to kill Troy Davis, innocent or guilty. Murder is murder! The State should be pursuing justice, NOT revenge!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      Agreed.

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

      green: "It was wrong to kill the cop and it is wrong to kill Troy Davis, innocent or guilty. Murder is murder! The State should be pursuing justice, NOT revenge!"

      1) Execution, like self defense, is not murder. Murder is "wrongful" killing.

      2) Why do you assume, without proving, that justice does not include execution? If someone takes another person's life, perhaps it's entirely justified to take theirs as well as the ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime.

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

      Too late he's already been sentenced.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      Can't only God take a life? I'm really curious how you "religious" folks can have so much bloodlust. And the killing of another human being, when not in self-defense, is still murder. The alternative is life without the possibility of parole, and doesn't involve the state murdering a murderer. This would also fit nicely with supposed religious beliefs that many people here proclaim.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sad

      Murder is murder no matter how you look at it, having 7 out of 9 people change there minds on how they sentenced him right there shows there is doubt within this case

      Once murdered means there is no coming back and dieing a innocent man would be absurd and its sad to see that with over 1million signatures this man cant get another trial.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nah

      josh: "And the killing of another human being, when not in self-defense, is still murder."

      Your inability to think deeply about an issue is sad, really.

      Murder is a "wrongful" killing. A wrongful killing is one that is not justified, and serves no legitimate end. Consequently, shooting a store clerk while robbing him, or tying a girl up in a basement and butchering her, is murder. Turning around and sentencing that murderer to death - either as punishment for the crimes he committed, or to deter future murders - is not murder. Why? Because the state and society have a legitimate interest in punishing these crimes.

      Be against the death penalty all you want, but making fallacious arguments won't help you.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • jaded

      Josh-Wa –

      I've come to realize that a lot of religious folks pick and chose from the bible whatever appeases to them the most (I grew up in the Church and witnessed this all my life) They are like part-time Christians... they will act christ-like in certain situations then turn around and support murder and other heinous acts, twisting what they believe God's message is to support whatever their ideals are at the moment. It's sick and it's sad but that's just how it is.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      @Nah, where do we get the definition of "wrongful" killing, which you put in quotes for some odd reason? I have been told my whole life that this is a Christian nation built on Christian ideals, so I assume our interpretation of when it is right to kill someone would come from the good book. Not to mention, there is hardly any ambiguity in "thou shall not kill", and no asterisk after that statement to clarify when it's okay to kill.

      And jaded, you are spot on.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. coco

    why do you all make it a race issue it doesnt matter if he were black white red or yellow if you have a track record of violence should we let him back out on the streets? our tax dollars pay for the lacking justice system... Eye for an eye then maybe the violence would diminish instead we are paying to feed, clothe, give healthcare and schooling to law breakers

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

      I'd love to meet someone of the color red – moron.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      Eye for an eye and your justice system starts looking a lot like the Taliban or Sharia law that we are told (rightfully so) is awful. It's amazing how many people here seem to condemn and endorse this mindset at the same time.

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

      seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. There also have been questions about the physical evidence. THEY LET CASEY GO

      September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "I'd love to meet someone of the color red – moron."___________________________________________ Not surprising you resort to name-calling. You're too stuck on yourself to even know about the American Indian.

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

      @Rome Nice to meet you. Being Native American can tend to make us a certain shade of red. Have a nice day 🙂

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "THEY LET CASEY GO"_________________________________________ She was acquitted. There were 7 blacks on the jury that said he was guilty and should die for the crime. You've already lost.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      We're not from India either.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rome is stupid.

      Red is the color of native Americans you moron, go back to China.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BS

      Who's the moron, Rome? If you want to battle semantics then "red" is the skin color once used to describe people of Native American descent. Coco has a valid point, maybe you should try thinking for a change.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cruelhonesty

    Was I born racist...no. Did my parents raise me to be racist...no. Did Black people mold me into becoming somewhat of a racist..Yes.

    I am sick and tired of hearing about the "poor black man". Black people always go up in arms when they have "a cause" to fight for, but they're also out there killing innocent people and each other, sitting on welfare, and taking advantage of the system.

    And let me ask all of you black people something about Mr. Davis case...where were you for the last 20 years this guy was sitting on death row!!!!! you had 20 years to make a case for this guy if you REALLY think he's innocent, but you wait a week before his execution to start yelling! PATHETIC!

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

      Well, you're right about one observation. You're officially a racist.

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

      Do you how stupid you sound? Yes you were born and raised as a racist. It says very well in your post.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      The yelling has been going on for more than a week. Just because you are hearing about it now doesn't mean it just suddenly appeared. There is a possibility that you are just out of the loop. Judging from your post, smart money is that you are.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cash

      Were you born a racist? No. Did you learn to be racist from your friends and family, probably so. Hating another human being over their skin color is stupid. Good luck in hell becasue you are not going to heaven.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • E Sincere

      I dont think it is just blacks on welfare, committing crimes, and taking advantage of the system. I was taught by my parents to love all not matter what color their skin was. But the comment you just made was very ignorant and just sad.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "Well, you're right about one observation. You're officially a racist."____________________________________________________ You're just upset that being a racist is not a crime.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman C Carr

      Wait one second,Black people helped build this country.No one is perfect and everyone has their faults but without us there would be no America.The truth is there are still some people among white america who dont give a 2 cents about the life of an innocent black,latino,asian,native nor gay american.Its always the same old hate.Now this is not all white america.Maybe not even most but this hate dose exist and it stands in the way of the building a new and better world for all people.And its wrong

      September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      The fact is a police officer is dead. The fact also is that Troy Davis has ALWAYS MAINTAINED, " He DID NOT shoot MacPhail. He said 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."
      The forensic evidence has NEVER proved otherwise and as the years have passed the evidence overwhelmingly supports Davis account. Also the police were accused of coercing the "witnesses". Not one or two but five? Come on now..All five of these people are lying?? Lastly, why is it that Coles ( the man who WENT to the police and said Troy did it, who also owns a 38) was not even questioned as a suspect when clearly Troy originally said Coles hit the homeless guy? With all of these questions do you still think he should die? REALLY??
      The legal system in this case is

      September 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mold One

      How can you state that Black people molded you? Were you raised by Black people have you ever been Black? Do you know that all Blacks are not on welfare and a lot of Whites are? If your views didn't come from nature, then they must have come from being nurtured into your being. Whether this man is innocent or guilty, it is igonrance like yours that brings the system into question. There is no perfect system and you are proof of that.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • THEONLYTJW

      You obviously know NOTHING about this case. I am a black woman, I was raised in Louisiana, I am NOT a racist and I solely view the FACTS of the case. Do I think O.J. was guilty? Of course I do. Do I think Casey Anthony is guilty? Of course I do but in those cases there was this thing called e-v-i-de-n-c-e that was lacking that allowed BOTH of them (white and black) to walk free. In this case, once again there is NO creditable evidence to execute him so he should go free! This case has been explored for years! People have yelled and screamed for years! Remember this statement for the rest of your life: no one knows you are ignorant until you open your mouth and prove it! You are definitely part of the problem not the solution! Wow! you suck!

      September 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. not surprised

    "What happened to democracy? With almost a million signatures, the Pope, and major human rights organizations like Amnesty International rallying for another trial, FIVE people get to decide this man's fate?? Sickening."

    That's just how the country is. Those guys want this man dead and they are the ones with the power. They don't care if he's really guilty or not. Whatever their motives are, whether it's keeping up face or making a profit or just a taste for blood.. they won't rescind their decision to murder an innocent man.

    Jesus could come down in a blazing chariot and declare this man innocent and they'd still fry him. That's just how it goes.

    Eye for an eye.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norman C Carr

      These bigots dont care about the Pope nor any justice.And i know this is not all white people but its sad and its a wake up call for believers in justice.America is being taken over by people who have a 1950s kind of mindset and its time to stand up face to face and confront them.We cant sit down or shake our buuts anymore.The future of this country may depend upon.Our freedoms may depend upon it.American please stand up and fight.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JJJBB

    Really?? Your comments are so absurd..........."future determined by knuckle-dragging, sheet-wearing...?" You are living in another world. And, speaking of "other worlds" and "more progressive nations," why don't you pick up your duds and move to one? It would certainly keep your blood pressure down, what with all the pent-up anger you seem to be carrying around about living in America.

    This man has been on death row for 20 years now. That should have been plenty of time to prove his innocence if he did indeed not commit this crime.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Norman C Carr

    Oh my God,a black mans life is worth nothing in the south.I dont know what to say.With all the outcry this system refuses to take a second look at the case.This is just plain cruel and hateful.But i do thank President Carter ,The Pope, Bishop Tutu and all others who have spoken out about this.Where is the justice.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara

      Agree.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • CRay

      The justice can be found in the jury of his peers that found him guilty based upon the evidence they heard in his trial. These people that are wanting him to receive clemency do not know the facts of the case, they are just against executing anyone regardless of however many people they have murdered.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      They've already taken several "looks" at the case and he's going to pay for killing that cop.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      Oh, I guess because a jury heard evidence that was later recanted or flat out contradicted, that's irrelevant because a jury already convicted him and heard evidence! Sound logic! But yes, in this case, I think his guilt is still going to be proven, but there is no harm in taking another look at it all in light of these new factors. And yes, you are right that I am just against the death penalty in general. I think life without the possibility of parole is closure and serves society's interests as a whole. I sound more Christian than many of you proclaimed Christians on this board screaming for eye for an eye. You sound like Sharia law.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
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