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. marily

    I would like to know if it has been proven that Troy Davis is infact the one who shot the first guy at the pool party in the face??? Is he addmitting to THAT shooting? the one where the victim did not die? Surely people at that pool party knew and made a positive ID of him. Is he denying all of this or only the death penalty crime?? I just would like to know.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. K.Bishop

    people mr. davis is not the first and dam show want be the last. all i mean all of you sound like a dam fools

    September 20, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Timothy

    I don't believe in the DP whether guilty or not. But if this man is truly INNOCENT and is still EXECUTED tomorrow night, I apologize to him from the bottom of my heart for the unjust world we've all created. The afterlife is sure to be more reasonable, I promise you. We are a pathetic race here who systematically commit crimes against each other and pile onto a mountain of guilt from years of doing the same.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DB

    American justice system is about vengeance, not reform. Those who support this harsh system are Christians in name only. Deep inside they are rotten individuals whose lust for blood is same as those which put Christ on crucifix 2000 yrs ago. These are their children.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andy

    Interesting statement from the supreme court regarding this case....

    September 20, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Johnathan Forrest

    Justice is served so sayeth Nathan Bedford Forrest

    September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. marily

    Also, for people who want to drag out the race card, (oh gag not again) there are African Americans on the parole board that denied his clemency, how do you figure this is racist?? When you play the worn out old race card, you insult those who really have suffered from racism.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RR

    Death should never be a punishment it should be a release. He should get life with out parole with an option for assited sucide after 10 years of good behavior.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    N one in this chit room was a juror .Case closed .Pick another Black/white fight already. Like salt and pepper.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    Where is Darrell Collins? He was with him the entire night. He's the one who needs to take the polygraph – it was either Davis or Coles but he can't blame one without throwing the other one under the bus.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. freddystangnes

    This article may be translated in google tranlation I think, but it is sooe thoughts about murder of Justice and how the criminal court should react when dobt is an essential factor. After he is killed it will be just too late and it seems to be an innomcent man going against his death. that is nothing less than a tragedy, and the judges involved in this case will probably never be able to come to terms with their previous decision!

    September 20, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Diana

    He admits to trying to shoot that other guy (Cooper) in the face only moments before. Anyone supporting this guy needs to consider that, and the fact that a federal judge and now the Board, who were given ALL the evidence, came to the same decision the jury did.

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

      They were given ALL the evidence, except of course for the evidence that they weren't given, which included eyewitness accounts that Sylvester Coles shot the cop and not Troy Davis.

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

    kill him....revive him...and kill him again....I hope he enjoys eternity in HELL.

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

      if you believe in hell then you must believe in jesus too, and if jesus is not in hell neither will this man. you stand a better chance of going to hell more than this man.

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

      And the GOP offices in GA and TX just rolled out their secret banner..."We're 'bout to git another one Festus...And it legal – YEEHAW"...

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • mypitts2

      You don't know that he did it. Were you on the jury?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Watson, Toronto

      Ah, CruelHonesty, more evidence that rabid vengefulness – rather than a thoughtful and civilized approach to crime and punishment – is alive and well in Tea Party America.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • cruelhonesty

      how about the 3 of you GFY and stop throwing this guy a pity party!

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

      "You don't know that he did it. Were you on the jury?"__________________________________________ Seven blacks were. They said he was guilty and should die.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      You fool. Once he is executed, his debt is paid. How can you hold him in hell after you have settled the debt with him. Like the thief that hung next to Jesus, are not his debts to society paid? If you really hate him, you wouldn't execute him. To execute him shows him that you love him, because his debt will be paid, and now won't he rule over those who commit murder?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GrimReaper

    Swing Looooowwwww Sweet Chaaarrrriiioooottttt, Comin forth to carry me Hoooommmmmeeee!

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

      you are just so ignorant . I don't even know why you reply to CNN.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • mypitts2

      @moretoit: He's a troll. That's what trolls do. Go onto sites with no ideas, just to rabble-rouse and get a reaction.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      Too funny. hehehe

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

      if you knew the true meaning of that song you wouldnt have made that comment.

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

      Never take a person serious who says "rabble-rouse". What a D-bag.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GuestColin

    She may be able to find a sense of justice in this, but I know from personal experience there is no peace to be found in the death penalty. Forgiveness is where you find the peace, but it is a long, dark and hard road to walk. She's still carrying the anger. Perhaps one day she will get there.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Thompson

      ""the victim's mother, Anne MacPhail, said she's satisfied that Davis will be executed.""

      Hear hear. One less Death Row mouth to feed.

      I find peace in the Death penalty every time we use it.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • mypitts2

      @Dan: Every time a possibly innocent person is executed it weakens the death penalty, makes it more horrible to society.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
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