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. Darren

    While I'm not a fan of the death penalty, I'm not 100% opposed to it either. I will however point out the sheer hypocrisy of those who consider enacting regulations to prevent corporations from releasing toxic chemicals into the environment an over-reach of government, while granting that same government the right to decide who has the right to live and who die.

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

      dar: "I will however point out the sheer hypocrisy of those who consider enacting regulations to prevent corporations from releasing toxic chemicals into the environment an over-reach of government, while granting that same government the right to decide who has the right to live and who die."

      Sorry to inform you, but that's not hypocrisy. And you created a pitiful strawman, to boot.

      The people who generally support the death penalty are opposed to over-reaching environmental legislation. They define overreaching environmental legislation as legislation that is based on speculation, is duplicative (of existing regulation), and burdens businesses and individuals with little or no gain in environmental safety.

      Much less, the government doesn't have unbridled power to kill people. Society has given it a very specific set of rules to go by: if someone murders another person, and that murder is sufficiently appalling, execution is the punishment, rather than life in prison.

      Please stop thinking in talking points and arguing with dumbed down rhetoric.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      The Government doesn't have unbridled power to kill people? They issued a kill on sight order for an American born cleric in Yemen, and turning a blind eye to overwhelming evidence of potential innocence of a death row inmate is tantamount to killing anyone they choose. Stick charges on the appropriate person, and then don't bother to investigate the accuracy seems like a pretty good way to accomplish this. I'm not saying that Troy Davis is innocent by any means, but I think there is enough evidence to warrant a further trial in the matter.

      Any time the Government wants to go outside of the guidelines set by the American people, they just claim executive authority or hire lawyers to interpret the laws their own way. While you aren't using rhetoric, your statements are without evidence and denying what has bee demonstrated time and time again throughout history, and that is that the Government can and will do anything it can get away with. And judging from the reaction to a case like this, the Government has no issues.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "while granting that same government the right to decide who has the right to live and who die."_____________________________________ 7 black jurors said he should die also. What about that?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously??

      So, Tee has stated several times that 7 of the jurors who convicted Davis were Black...can we all agree to acknowledge that so he/she can shut the hell up about it. That is all.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shark Connoisseur

    put this killer to rest

    September 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jj

    "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!"

    To these people, 'justice' is murder for murder. The dead cop's mother will rest peacefully when Davis is dead, even if he may be innocent. To her, killing a man in exchange for her son being killed is closure. Making another family go through the pain and loss of having someone killed will comfort her. Revenge prevails.

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

      And if it turns out Troy Davis was executed, who do we kill next to bring closure to Troy Davis' family? You can't undo the death penalty. Life without the possibility of parole is the right answer. I'm not saying let Troy Davis on the streets or that he's innocent. I'm saying there is enough evidence to rehear the case, and if he is guilty, lock him up for life with no possibility for release. I don't see how this would not give the family closure. Do they think he's at the Hilton for the rest of his life?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      I meant if Troy Davis was executed and innocent at the start of my response. And I'm responding not against you, but just in general.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. KWS

    Read the whole article. The shell casings at the pool? He's GUILTY! This is the same mentality that aquitted OJ and Casey Anthony. If you really WANT to free murderers, you can always come up with an excuse. That's why it's REASONABLE doubt., not ANY doubt.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:12 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.READ THE STORY

      September 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "READ THE STORY"__________________________________ 7 blacks were on the jury. Why don't you mention that?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cornell

      As a 25 year old black man i really wish we can all get along. Yes, I wish my people would get more involved when its black on black killings. Yes my people cling on to the "thug' mentality wayyy too much. Yes more and more black people are going to college each year. Yes crime had dropped over the last ten years. Yes it seems to us that white people would rather see us with less than them. Yes i've been discriminated against and humilated by a racist. I hate to say the only two times i really felt American was 9/11 and when Obama became president. More so on 9/11, the feeling of brotherhood between blacks,whites,reds,purples,browns and yellows was unprecedented. In those days America was ONE.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MAVF

    Gettting a job is much harder then you think. In the black community is at or above 20%. My daughter will be a graduate student that will graduate in Dec. with a degree in Clinical Psychology and straight A's. She's African-American and the only jobs she's getting hits on are $10.00 an hour. I have to encourage her everyday not to get discouraged, keep trying. Again, welcome to America.

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

      "Again, welcome to America."_____________________________________ They probably ran a credit check on her and found that her credit score is rock bottom. Perhaps she shouldn't have bought all that rap "music" on credit.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JerkIt

    Look did the guy kill someone? Maybe or maybe not. Does he sound like a piece of crap carrying around a gun and hanging with drug addicts, drug dealers, and homeless people? Yes. This won't be a big loss to society.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Cynic

    Killing a police officer means the death penalty. That would be fair enough if all first-degree murderers convicted on evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt received the death penalty. But if you kill an ordinary citizen, and particularly a child or a woman, you'll be free to commit another murder. Guaranteed.

    Only police officers and other "important" people get justice when they are wronged.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. francisco medina

    no mercy for killers ! i hope the men who recently killed an innocent guy in a parking lot get the same treatment: death penalty !!!!

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

      And I hope you take the time to refine your point of view before it's you or someone you know wrongfully accused of a crime and then expect someone out there to pay attention or to care about your plight.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. IndyJim

    Is the question whether or not he shot the man at the pool party or pistol whipped the man at the convenience store in question? What was the young man so angry about? On a side note, If the Indigo girls support his release, by god who are we to dispute their stance?

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

      By God, isn't killing anyone for any reason prohibited? Pretty sure God makes that clear in the commandments. I don't see an asterisk after thou shall not kill.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KWS

    I also love how CNN is using this sad, puppy dog, harmless clean-cut guy pictures to portray this convicted murderer. We aren't executing Urkel here!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh-Wa

      Yeah, totally. Why didn't they put the gold caps on his teeth, grow his hair into dreads and have him go a week without shaving. That would at least fit your bigoted ideas of what a black man on deathrow should look like apparently. This is a photo of a man that might be murdered wrongfully by the state. Any feelings you get from that of potential bias should instead be directed to that gaping hole in your chest where your heart used to be, now an area desolate without any signs of empathy. I don't agree that he should be freed. I think there is enough evidence for a new trial, and I think that life without the possibility of parole is acceptable closure for the family and society as a whole, and does the best we can to protect against the murder of innocent people.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cmonster

    It's amazing to me that some of the people on this discussion board can be as ignorant as they are and still figure out how to use a computer. I wonder sometimes if they even comprehend the meaning of the words they use. To those of you do, please consider that we will never reach our full potential until we stop killing other, both sanctioned and un-sanctioned

    September 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • 9mms

      Fine and dandy there, cmonster. If he gets let out, be sure you go take him home to babysit your children.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viceoreason

      Really? You obviously have no grasp on deterance nor do you grasp the victims right to justice. The killer gave the victim no quarter and you would have us give him a break because you think not punishing him is ok.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. noemi

    He was found guilty by his people and whites.if he is guiltyhe well go to the dark side of death if he's innocent he has nothing to worry about he shouldn't be affraid to die if he's innocent.this has nothing to do with race he was found guilty get over it he well die.what scares me is the dead mans kid he wants to be a cop when he grows up he well be one of those cops who hate everything that isn't white.he's grown up with a lot of black hate this boys mother wants him dead.this boy well have a lot of hate in him.sorry this uglyness occard to him and his family and to the black kids family but who walk around with a gun and is innocent when someone dies?and our president comes from what there for he's a white man first this is to all the colored blind people out there.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve g

      You are a complete idiot

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

      he was found guilty of the crimes based on evidence that was presented, which included the 9 witnesses (which 7 recanted and/or contradicted themselves).

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

      Complete ignorant idiot .....

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

      something is wrong with you.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lu McLu

    Of course the Victim's family thinks Davis did it- they're white and he's black- and it's in Georgia.

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

      That ignores the fact that the alternate suspect, the man who allegedly confessed, is also black.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. carlos

    rick parry s teaxas revisited..........pathetic

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

      I wonder if your head is as incoherent as your writing. What the hell were you trying to say?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Viceoreason

      Back to the other side of the border Carlos.....Your obviously not intelligent enough to be from this side...

      September 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ARPI

    pfffff being black is a curse in this country!! they will kill him just because he is lack!!!

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

      don't tell me let me guess, you have no job, you have a "baby momma" because getting married would cut down on the welfare, and you stay high all day. Oh yes, but it is because you are black, lol, you insult fine, hardworking educated African Americans, they want you to shut up and get off your pitty pot.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
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