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. For Real

    Seriously? Take your view of the world to China, see how progressiv ethey are with 2 billion people, how about any Muslim led COuntry, see how Sharia law works, maybe head to some progressive nations in Africa, or head over to some Latic Countries. You America hating freaks really irritate me with your outlook of America and how we are such a laughing stock, wake up, they sure as heck dont laugh when a Tsunami hits and they want a billion dollars, or when an earthquake flattens the town, or better yet, see how many billions went to Progressive Europe in the graeat bailout of the wrold by America, yea we may be a luahging stock, but its becasue we allow any idiot to have an opinion...

    September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Steve

    The U.S. is the global leader in any civil rights and freedoms.How dare any REAL United Statesian think otherwise go and buy your walmart bloody Chinese blood bath products and then pick up your gear and move to China. This media circus to sell books by failed politicos,popes, rock stars and the"reverend " is just that.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    It just seems that he is to take the punishment of what Coles did. Davis is charged with Shooting a man cooper inthe face, pistol whipping a homeless person m and shootign McPhail, all with a 38 calibar pistol.

    Cole owned a 38 calibar pistol and had it that night, isaid it gave it someone and it was never recovered.
    Cole was seen arguing withte homeless man, and was at the scne at all three cirimes. No record of Troy Davis even owning a gun.

    Troy Davis's execution does appear to be an extreme travesty of Justice.

    Teh state/court shoudl strive to ensure Jsutice. Justice is not the blind obediance of law,

    After all, In HItler's Germany, it was lawful to transport Jews,etc to concentration camps, and if they died, they died for lawful reasons. Law is made by people, but that does not mean it is just.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Straphimnthegurney

    As you can see from these posts, blacks are eager for all to forgive their bros who kill a white person and first in line to howl in protest when a white person is perceived as slighting a black. Blacks are the worst racists of any group and the amazing thing is that society is so afraid of being considered racist they act like it isn't so. Bunch of idiots who will be laughed at by historians and observers from the future, 100 years from now.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • And you know this...how?

      Based on your posting I would guess that you are not Black and probably only "know" Black people through television and other sources of media. You are a moron.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Think B4 U Post

      ....and what exactly is your moniker supposed to lead us to believe about you?......

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

      No–what's really sad is that you think the few african american people on this blog who throw their support behind Davis simply because he's black are a complete representation of black people. Now THAT'S what will become a laughing stock 100 years from now–LOL!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B2tall

    Amnesty International – what a joke! This is the same organization that fought against serial killer Charles Ng's extradition from Canada to California even though Ng (and his accomplice) had videotaped themselves torturing and murdering their victims. They have no credibility at all.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sideofbacon

    "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's convinced he's guilty because someone is being held accountable for the death of her son. whether he truly is guilty or not doesn't really matter to her or most of the general public. unfortunately society and the judicial system becomes satisfied with the outcome once someone is pronounced guilty and the gavel comes down. regardless if he did it or not, they just want SOMEBODY to be held "accountable" for the crime. I would rather have a stay of clemency then to execute an innocent man. I am all for the death penalty, but only if 100% certainty that the person is guilty can in fact be proven (ex: DNA, video evidence, ballistics, and all other measures that are considered provable "beyond a reasonable doubt"). 7 of 9 "witnesses" have either recanted or contradicted their statements.

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

    This guy is confirmed by witnesses as running around with a pistol, shooting and pistol whipping people... there is some doubt that he shot the police officer (though he was confirmed there and also happened to have a similar pistol that he had been using for violence that night)... the police officer (who was probably killed by this guy) was shot 3 times including IN THE FACE!?!? If I understand this correctly... KILL THE GUY! And screw expensive painless methods...

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

      the same witnesses that have recanted or contradicted their original statements?...

      September 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Me

    Amen to that!!!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Lucy

    DEATH IS NOT THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN TO SOMEONE. "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28

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

      There is no hell. It's a fig newton of your imagination

      September 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Pope

    That's ok. After they find out he's innocent, they'll exhume him and give him the good news

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

    This is why we do not have the death penalty in Canada or in most democratic societies. It is immoral to want to take a life because one was taken from your family. Let them rot in prison without any special privileges. Shame on this mother who is pushing so hard for this "murder" to occur. How can one not question the verdict after so much has occurred. Are these people so blood thirsty that they are blinded to any other kind of justice? Someone explain this to me

    September 20, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Think B4 U Post

      It's a confederate state 'thing'. How much time do you have? It has to do with historical, generational deeply entrenched bitterness that reveals itself over and over. As a mother, I am truly, truly sympathetic to this woman's dispair. But, to hold on to that 'can't forgive, yet' paradigm is toxic.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NYU

    Make them work w/o paying,,give them dog food.. BUT DO NOT KILL A PERSON! I hope all who kill get burned in the hell!!

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

      You believe in Hell you believe in God. God would not let the Vatican swim in GOLD whilst millions starve and die in Africa. So there is no god .there is GOLD @$1,700 oz.

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

      I don't understand how anyone can call themselves a Christian and advocate for the death of this man. What happened to "Thou shalt not kill"? It's amazing to me how people cherry pick what's in the Bible as long as it fits their desires.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. guven

    I know after this thug is killed, the whine of racism will overshadow the good that will come out of it. This thug won't be able to kill again. Much less, he won't be able to produce any more criminals by laying with another woman. And this will all save us thousands of tax dollars in the end. I am thrilled that the charges are still sticking. Hopefully other thugs will learn from this thug and that is – if you murder someone, you will be dealt with the same method of going to hell as this one is. And trust me – no one is going to miss this thug. Promise!

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

      "...laying with another woman...?" Who talks like that? And I'm pretty sure his family will miss him. You sound like you're as bad as any murderer on the inside. You want another person dead. Shame on you.

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

      disgusting and sickening

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

      I promise you, you will be just as unhappy and angry with yourself after this execution is complete as you are today. This execution will do nothing for you. If anything, it may simply cause you to feel worse because your subconscious knows you may very well be supporting an INNOCENT man's DEATH.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mavvv

      Jeepers.......I want U to die too.......does that make me bad? Get life sheeple........Muslims are already here and ready to kill U all. Ever been to death row........they all say their not gulity. Muslims will lie straight to your face and make U feel guilty about it too. Me......I am stockin up on bullets and gold. Can watch U all die in 2012 ..... Me and wife will be in bomb shelter watching old Jerry Springer reruns.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Starman

      Guven meant to use another word instead of thug. It starts with an N. Isn't that right Guven?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Big Apple

      Define Thug,

      you condesending smuck

      September 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeepers

      Wow Mavvv. Just wow.

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

    The jury that convicted Davis consisted of 7 blacks and 5 whites. A judge barred a piece of forensic evidence (that implicated Davis) from the trial, because the police obtained it without first being granted the right to search the home of Davis's mother. The jury (again, 7 jurors were black) took 2 hours to convict and 7 hours to deliberate before deciding to request the death penalty for Davis. This doesn't sound like a "racist" rush to conviction to me, for in a "racist" rush to conviction, there would be almost no if any blacks on the jury, and no forensic evidence against a defendant would be barred from the trial.

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

      His mother washed his clothes that he was wearing, just like Cindy Anthony did to Casey's jeans she found in the car. Talk about being in denial.

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

      After the jury convicted Davis, 7 of the 9 witnesses recanted all or part of their testimony, some of them saying they were pressured by the police to finger Davis. One of the two who didn't recant was Sylvester Coles, who was the first to go to police to implicate Davis in the murder. Later witnesses implicated Coles as the shooter.

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

      Bruce, I'm aware of those facts. My comment is only about whether it's accurate for anyone to say that Davis's conviction was somehow racist and/or a rush to judgment.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    Human beings are starving/dieing in Africa and Vatican City is bathing in GOLD. You Religious FOOLS All of you.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • elgiblet1

      Ah! So, maybe it's time to go over to Africa and feed some of those starving people. Oh, I see... costs too much and takes too much time. Gotcha. Blame the Vatican.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Pope

      Hey, I may be old but I'm not stupid. Got a good thiing goin' on here.

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