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. Samuel

    Lord have mercy on his soul and the legal justice system!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      The "legal justice system" favors the more affluent

      September 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shun

    Its hard to choose a side. I would want some questions answered first:
    I can feel what both sides are feeling, the victims wants justices from somewhere.
    Troy's family is sayng justice is found somewhere else, but they can't really direct us on exaculy where to find justice.
    If Troy is innocent why dosn't he have evidence to prove it?
    Why was he at both shootings sites?
    Why are people are implemting him, was he the most hated guy on the streets back then?
    Was he involved in the other shooting that evening at the pool party?
    Where is the person he claimed to have done the shooting? is he dead or alive? can he come forward, did he ever during the trial.
    Seems like Troy attorney made mistakes by not calling the right withnesses to testify and to be crossed examined.
    That other guy probably cut a deal with the police since he was a durg dealer? then he probably lied and said Troy did it?
    The police probably force the other witnesses to say Troy did the shooting, since they had a deal with the other guy?
    Can we review all the tape recording of all the police investigation/questionings?
    If Davis had money he probably could have afforded a better lawyer whc can spend more time on the case and help find more wide open flaws and bring them to the courts?
    Seems like he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, should not be hanging around gangs and thugs or this could possibly happen to you, they can lie on you. or worse yet, just flat out kill you. When you live that life you must reconize that this can be possible, and it has a higher chance to go down this way. We must make better choices, life comes around only but once. We must have to make careful well thought out choices. Maybe it is too late for Troy but hopefully others would use this as an example.
    Death row don't seem to deter criminals, crime is still rampant eventhough people are put to death on death row.
    There must be another answer, another way,
    Did someone say "Jesus is the answer", maybe we should all give that a try. or some other type of religion that would keep us sane.
    Or just stay off the streets, stay out of trouble, say away from bad people if you mean good, if you want a better chance of living a better life. Chances are, you would probably be better off when you stay away from the thugs and street gangs. Maybe he did not have all of this counceling and guidance. Oh well, I wish I could have done something to help, but I got my own life to live and trying to do all the good stuff I mentioned above. The only thing I can say to Troy is to believe is something, keep the faith. Maybe there really is life after death, who knows? Too bad you can't come back and let us know. Well we all have our day coming, so we too will find out for our selves. Until then, die peacefully. That is just my 2 cents. thanks. ess dub.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Charles

    22 years of free room and board and chow.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sable

      All those years of free room and board? You sound envious. Maybe you'd like to change places with him?

      If we, as a society, allow for the death penalty, it is only fair that those imposing it, should be subject to it, if the convicted person is later found to be innocent. For if you put to death an innocent person, then you are guilty of murder yourself.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ben

    An innocent person executed in the name of the law? It's not like this hasn't happened thousands of times before. Seven witnesses going against their original testimony is enough for a retrial at least. But people have to have their revenge, even if it's not the guilty party at the end of the rope. Blood for blood. All that matters. Vengeance. The reason behind nearly every execution of an innocent party.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. T.rex

    This reminds me of that Johnny Cash song... the one about the guy complaining about the many murders he's committed, though he's being hung for one that he's falsely accused of.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jama8canpops

    Once again the KKK is rearing it's ugly head disguised as a legal lynching.There seems to be a lot of doubt surrounding this case so the prudent thing to do is to commute the death sentence to life in prison.I wonder if there would be such a big deal had the victim been black?Racism will be the downfall of America.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Actually, people like you crying racism over anything not going your way is the downfall of America. BTW-It's already fallen.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • boooner

      night night next story please>>>oh ya can the real killer please come forward

      September 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. caesar

    As it is the supremacy factor in this country will be white and black will be always considered black and evil and those who bare resemblance shall face his or her opressors fraile and defensiveless as slaves shackled to a slave ship floor board surrounded by feces and urine knowing death is freedom and to live amongst thee which thou are nothing worthy of life ' give me my death and my presence will trouble you no more ' for i can only die one time and if this is my freedom from captivity ' give it to me to me now and forever i shall be of this opression no more .

    September 20, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      OMG, really???

      September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • boooner


      September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      How is this related to murder?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      You do know this is the year 2011?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. J.T.M.

    It is simple, If there is no dought, then you do what you must do. If there is dought you need to sift through it and find out what need be done from there. If they kill him and it is later found that he didn't do it, Well then they have just made the case for the anti death believers. Not just that But if they came back to me and informed me that the person that I was on the jury for was innocent and I voted for the death penalty. Plus I was the forman, I signed that paper. Well,they need to be sure. The only thing at stake is the life of a person. There is alwayse time to kill, but once you kill you can never fix it later.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynn

      Sweetie...It's spelled one is going to take you seriously if you can't spell it....

      September 20, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. IHopper

    This confirms everything we here in media re: Georgia.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nadine

    That's the dirty south for you.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Panties

    Please, give Senor Troy Davis his death juices tomorrow at 1900 hours. Give him three wiennies for another last supper and then immediately Croak him.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pitoy

      don't you want to at least wait for his three weenies to digest before executing him? he might vomit and that's nasty to clean up.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mary Lou Desjardins

    Everyone knows that there are more Blacks in the prison system when America Blacks are only 15 % of the population. And Perhaps police and jury and prosecutors were pressured emotionally and politically for a conviction. The man is a criminal and so it goes that he probably murdered the police officer. You can't put a man to death on an assumption.There now is doubt and proof that he may not have murdered Mark McPhail. This doubt is backed by thousands of Americans and International supporters. Yet a hand full of individuals have exclusive right to ignore them.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ikarly

    if there were reasonable doubts and we have people assuming he's innocent, why the hell was he locked up for 22 years? i'm not for the death penalty but i am for justice served to the victim and their families. there is no celebration on taking another life but how can you give the victim their justice if crimes committed are inconsequential???

    September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Well, for one thing, if Sylvester Coles killed Mark MacPhail, executing Troy Davis isn't exactly a consequence that sends shivers down the spines of would-be murderers...

      September 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Nadine

    Who made you God!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tkessler45

    Why give him a last meal?

    September 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Because that's what we do when we believe in dignity.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
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