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. georgian against dp

    human animals are just that and I am against this sort of retaliatory behavior. justice is not man's and karma does very well for itself. I am sorry my out of control tax dollars are used for this – not for long though because I am outtie!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sam

    I was dating an American who wanted me to move back to the states when our studies were finished. Never! I would never, ever live in a country as violent, hypocritical and murderous as America. You jail 1 in 31 of your citizens and the state murders innocent people. You fight against health care for your own citizens. You support exploitation of citizens for pure profit and greed. Disgusting.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pitoy

      and what hell hole country are you living in now?

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

      You say the US is violent and hypocritical? You are a fool. Maybe you should study the history of Europe from 1939-1945.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • ikarly

      you're an idiot Sam.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Who was it that fed you all of this propaganda?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • jack

      research Darfur while you're at it. Also, read up about the Kymer Rouge and the Cambodians.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • amy

      bwahahaha – what country are you from that someone who shoots a man, then pistol whips a second is considered an innocent person? I'd sure hate to live where you.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    Wait so you guys are saying he is getting executed because he is black? I thought it was because he shot a guy, pistol whipped another guy and the murdered a cop. Thanks for the clarification.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      It's not a new tactic: when you are losing an argument, change the subject.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ben

    killing a police officer is a capital crime and death penalty is the sentence. i think on top of that his family shold pay compensation to the victims family. they raised a monster and now are ripping the profit.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. crmamx

    For the sake of argument I will concede he should be spared for killing the cop. But since the shooting of the other guy in the face and pistol whipping the homeless man proves he has a propensity for violence the execution should proceed.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      You don't know anything about capital punishment then. The other two offenses aren't punishable by the death penalty. The real issue all comes down to the death of the cop. Has anyone heard of "reasonable doubt"?!?!? This case is sicken.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • anappo


      they got the right guy. We all understand capital punishment. Its not like he was sitting in church with his momma when this happened. He was pistol whipping and shotting people. He is off the street. -The End

      September 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cowabunga Dude

    Troy Davis was probably not given a fair trial, but he was a monster. This guy was no Saint, and if he didn't kill Mark MacPhil he would have killed someone one else because you don't have to pull the trigger to be a danger to society. I know African-Americans feel compelled to protect other African-Americans when they are victim of a unfair justice system, but this guy is not worth defending. If you are defending equaility in the Justuce system, I expect to see you marching in front in the court house everyweek regardless of the person race or class. On a ending note, with so much in doubt about this guy from a court perspective, don't execute him, just let him rot, reform and write a book about how to not be like him .

    September 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      The biggest problem with executing him now is the fact that Sylvester Coles might actually be the murderer, and a true investigation would probably reveal dramatic unprofessionalism and/or incompetence on the part of the police and the prosecutors between the murder and the conviction. They should be held to account for their conduct.

      An execution slams the door shut on any such investigation. That's a true miscarriage of justice.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Truth B Known

    Did someone leave a faucet on? I thought I heard dripping...

    September 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thrilla Killa Gorilla

      See your doc, You've got the clap.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Citizen Twain

    We are not wise enough to make these decisions, we should forgo the death sentence until we have enough intelligence to figure out that killing a person does not make up for the death of another. If there is any doubt this man is guilty they should stop this execution.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      But don't Christians believe that the death of the innocent makes up for the sins of the guilty? Isn't that how the whole Jesus-thing works?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Geronimo, NYC

    CNN readers comments are so sensible than NY Times. Nerds who oppose this mans death sentence please go to NYTimes and post comment there. Let the murderer die. Let us live in peace.
    Read the article first. This is the same fellow for whom you dont allow your daughter to take the late night subway.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Why should Georgia execute Troy Davis for a murder committed by Sylvester Coles?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Canadianmom

    I agree with you 100%. The family has definitely not helped Davis's situation, believing for certain that he is guilty. Where is their certainty coming from when millions don't share that certainty. It is simply revenge, vindictiveness and wanting a possibly innocent person to take the fall. Where is the justice in that? America can pretend to care about justice when it flies thousands of troops to fight other countries' battles against unfairness, lack of freedom and prejudice, but it is setting a very bad example by not only failing to combat injustice within it's own walls, but further propagating it and willfully turning a blind eye. The hypocrisy is painfully blatant. America will not gain more respect internationally for it and will stay stuck in an primitive stance of a country divided by religion, race and class. What a shame!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Thrilla Killa Gorilla


    September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. E

    Botton line to take a life when a life has been lost no matter what race or gender is revenge and not justice.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • vtguy

      Stick the needle, push the plunger and get him off the taxpayer's dime.... he is guilty. Use the money saved for school children.

      September 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thrilla Killa Gorilla


    September 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brian Douglas

    If there is any doubt in this case then Troy Davis must not be executed until all of the true facts have been established in a fair and free trial.

    September 20, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shutup

    "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".

    I find it highly coincidental that 2 shootings in the same area on the same day with the same type of gun were done by two different people... come on already! He should have been executed 20 years ago! What in the f'ing hell is taking so long?? Stop wasting my tax dollars and kill him already!

    September 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      How coincidental does it need to be if the two people were together, as Troy Davis and Sylvester Coles were, between the two shootings? Is it so tough for you to think that the gun could change hands? Does it matter to you that eyewitnesses (suppressed in the trial) are willing to testify that they saw Coles shoot MacPhail, and that Cole is one of the two witnesses who hasn't recanted their testimony?

      September 20, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • littleber


      September 20, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
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