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. GKS

    People believe in all kinds of BS and you can tell why by realizing that majority of people think the same way the mother of the victim things... THEY think they KNOW everything even without having actual evidence supporting that position.. This is also why people believe in GOD and other religious nonsense.. FAITH no evidence...

    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.

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

      I wonder how she will sleep when she finds out he was not guilty after all.
      Some people deserve the death penality, but if there is a question of his guilt it is wrong.

      How many have been found innocent of crimes many years later? TOO MANY!!!!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. truth hurts

    may the most high drop more planes and stages on these morons, and send more bears and sharks to eat ther kids

    September 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tyler

    They're knowingly executing an innocent man...This is murder. Gotta love the hard headed morons from the south who would rather execute an innocent man than admit they were wrong and call off an execution.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      The killer was convicted in court. That means guilty.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alison

      If they knew without a doubt that he is innocent, he wouldn't be on death row. He'd be free.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      How is troy an innocent man?

      September 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Actually...

      @Allison–Apparently you're completely clueless about how the justice system is SUPPOSED to work...if it's known without a doubt that he is guilty of murder, THAT is when you put him on death row.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • EzeAfulukwe

      @Actually... That's a cynical and stupid comment. The justice system that you disparage IS the best in the world. Look beyond your own prejudices and wants to see that this country gets it right most of the time. This gentleman had a trial; had over five appeals – both at the state and federal levels. Not one of those challenges was found to be meritorious! So you truly believe that all these people; justices, judges, jurors, the parole board, all just want to kill some innocent person. Wow! If you do then are about as delusional as Ahmadinejad.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Actually...

      @ EzeAfulukwe– I never said the justice system was not a good system; I merely acknowledged that it is sometimes flawed. You obviously assumed I was inferring something that I was not...and assumption has officially made an ASS out of you. Congratulations.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jensen

    I'm horrified this man was not granted clemancy. The death penalty is barbaric. It is NOT a deterent. Proud to be Canadian once again where we don't execute. I am sorry for the victim and for his family, but this will not bring him back. "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." MLK.

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

      We're glad you liberals are in Canada, too. Stay there.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • rkt210

      No, it's not barbaric. It's actually boring and sterile and done out of the public eye. It actually SHOULD be barbaric. I would suggest a guillotine in a public square. It provides a visceral image to the observers, while actually being quick and painless. No, it's not a deterrent. That's because it takes decades to happen and occurs out of sight. While I don't know all of the facts in this particular case, there are cases in which there is no doubt whatsoever. In those "no doubt" cases that conclude with a death sentence, there should be a mandatory review and then the sentence should be carried out within 30 days in public. That would be more likely to be a deterrent. The current implementation results in "out of sight, out of mind".

      September 20, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jay

    Forget about what we knew at the time of conviction. Based on what we know now, today, can anyone really say he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? If yes, then include that with your comments please.

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

      Exactly. There is evidence (evidence that was suppressed, in fact, that they jury should have been allowed to see) that Sylvester Coles is the shooter and not Troy Davis.

      There is AT LEAST enough evidence to open the case up and take another look. Killing an innocent man in this case means you let the guilty one off scott-free, which is a double-fail.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      You weren't at the trial, you wouldn't know.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Mike, why don't you ask the people who were at the trial? Several of the jurors now say they wish they could go back and change their vote to not-guilty, given the information that has come to light since the trial.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel


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


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

      Politics at its worst. Just do not try to get a fair deal in an election season when all the idiots want JUSTICE ! It is not going to happen !

      September 20, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sickofracist

    You white people make me's so funny to read all your hate comments. It must be so liberating to let all your hate out on the internet because you know your safe on here. I cant get enough hahaha...please keep it up.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • catharsus

      Wow!! You can actually tell the color of someone's skin just by reading what they write on cnn! If so, you are a genius and should go on talk TV. If not, then you are just another garden variety racist.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mary

    A majority of black people on the original jury took less than two hours to convict him and recommend the death penalty. And I'm sure, although they are probably anonymous for safety reasons, the Georgia Parole Board also has black people on it. I don't get why the racist accusations are in play here? We were in support of Casey Anthony getting convicted, and she's a white girl. Davis AND Coles should have both been convicted together and their lawyers could have duked it out. Someone killed a cop that night.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Several on that jury say that if they were given the information they have today back then, they wouldn't have convicted Davis of murder.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. MAVF

    Let's rally around the burning cross.....oh, but make sure the kids are there too!!! The next generation needs to know what to do in future hangings and burnings.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pay the price

    I'm sure Jesse Jackson will use this as a reason to loot,,,,opps, I mean protest.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your grammar is horrendous.

      You sound like an idiot and so does Jesse Jackson.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mike

    Who wants to be seen as a "progressive" nation? You stupid liberals.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mike


    September 20, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nordic Jim

    I love it! Whenever there is an article about an execution, we get my favorite defense of capital punishment: we don't want to pay to support the guy for life. So we kill a human being as a cost-cutting measure. It's all part of the right wing's famous "Respect for Life".

    September 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Just think about how well such a method would work to solve the long-term fiscal problems we have with Medicare!

      September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • catharsus

      Uh,'s the "right wing's" passion for justice. Is this really a political thing to you? Really? If so, you need to get another hobby.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jimbo

    A sociopath feels glee thinking about executions. That would be you, fundamentalist moron.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mr. sardonicus

    kill him. burn the body.

    September 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
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