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. f

    Just execute him already and move on. After decades of trials, appeals, higher court rulings, even higher court rulings, governor's reviews, clemency board reviews, all the evidence; if his sentence has not been overturned by now, he is guilty. Just finish the justice system's work and move on.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Norm

    Georgians?

    September 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nick

    LOL bye turd....

    September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jacob

    Hang the chap and all in prison who have been convicted for death.Enough of spending tax dollars and keeping them alive when Innocent poor people have no food on the table and a place to sleep. Human rights for the victims and not the perpetrators of crime.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. K9T

    Funny, I thought innocent until proven guilty and BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT were the standards of justice in this land. Oh, I guess that only goes for rich, white people. My bad.

    Ahh, 'Merika, land of the free (white middle-class).

    September 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • BillDog

      I guess OJ was white?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin Case

      Its not really about the color of your skin... its about the depth of your pockets.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Scott

    Oh Georgia, you are so advanced! So civilized. Why not revert to the breaking wheel, the slow-slicing technique, or slow baking like the hell in which most of you still believe. The UN moratorium on the death penalty must be ludicrous in your eyes. Shame on your ignorance.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MikeWI

    "THOUGH SHALT NOT KILL" .... Is this 1 one of the 10 commandments? It amazes me how supposed Christians can justify killing another human being in the honor of their God! Then again supposed Christians have always ignored the rules of the Bible to suit their lives. And how you can convict someone to death without 100% proof again shows the disgrace of our judicial system and morals. The SOUTH is especially lacking in true morals!

    September 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      True...... without a videotape of someone killing someone else, I would be EXTREMELY hard pressed to sentence someone to the death penalty, even if I didn't believe it was morally wrong.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • beelzebubba

      While I'm against capital punishment (primarily because there are so many fools seeking revenge that innocent people are wrongly convicted freightenly too often ) the commandment actually translate to you shall not murder... and the bible differentiates between judicial judgement and vigilanty 'justice'.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Nick

    In 24 hours the world will be a better and safer place.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dick

      You're leaving?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    Christ also suffered the injustice of the death penalty, and the ugly scorn of misguided society in the pseudo-religious gathered around him. He now sits at the right hand of the Father, in full power and glory. Troy Davis, eithor not being guilty of the crime for which he is charged, or having repented of a crime which he did commit, will be resurrected in heaven among those who truly are righteous and the sons of God. In the end, God will fully execute justice on all those who sit back in smug self-righteousness, and mock justice now, and they shall surely reap what they have sown, only ten times moreso. I pity the fate of the poor, blind fool(s) that play any role in this man's death. Matthew 18: 6.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christopher

      No, he doesn't, because 'god' doesn't exist and the only thing after death is a 180 back into another body on this planet when available.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Very true.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Izzle

    This is a tragedy. I am anti death penalty for this very reason. Your going to kill a man who is potentially innocent. This is the problem with our justice system.

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

      How is he innocent? No one has said that he was innocent of shooting that man in the face at the pool party, have they? So, if he did not kill that cop, he certainly deserved to be accused of it and there's nothing "innocent" about him.
      Put him down, just like a dog.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PaulMN

    So are the witnesses now going to be charged with perjury? They should. For the court system to work properly, the witnesses need to be telling "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" at a suspect's (in this case Troy Davis') trial. The witnesses should be charged with perjury because their testimony eventually resulted in Troy Davis being sentenced to the death penalty. Everyone needs to be held accountable.

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

      Point of clarification... "So are the witnesses who now recanted their testimony going to be charged with perjury?"

      September 20, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dandy

    If this guy is proved to be innocent after his execution, there will be some serious hell to pay.....

    September 20, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nick

    We are ALL sinners. No one is innocent in this world. We all deserve death. Thank God for Christ.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alex

    excluding the rednecks and bigots, it appears the Parole Board is being allowed to be this mans judge, jury and executioner despite the fairly obvious fact that the accused is either innocent of the charge or the State did something wrong. Witnesses jumping ship should be their indication that something was wrong and these folks are bailing because they knew it. But, the Board will be able to sweep all these questions under their old and lumpy rug as of tomorrow.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    Guilty, yea.

    September 20, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
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