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
Post by: ,
Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (2,336 Responses)
  1. Alabama Firefighter

    I suggest any of you view Troy Davis' wikipedia for a quick review on a good bit of the case. The problem is we have a big shadow of doubt over his case. Former President Jimmy Carter, Al Sharpton, Pope Benedict XVI, Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, presidential candidate Bob Barr and former FBI director and judge William S. Sessions have all called upon the courts to grant Davis a new trial or hearing. We have witnesses claiming police "coerced" them into making statements which were later recanted. There was even one witness at the rally in Georgia yesterday. The point is we do not have concrete evidence or a "smoking gun" if you will to prove without a shadow of doubt that Troy Davis was the murderer. I am not against the death penalty but I believe it should only be used when we have absolute proof. Which clearly we are lacking.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Moreover, there is evidence that has been actively suppressed that implicates Sylvester Coles as the shooter. While it is also not a "smoking gun" rock-solid evidence, it is at least as compelling as the (now-recanted) "eyewitness" testimony and includes people who claim to have seen Coles shoot MacPhail and others who claim to have heard him confess to the crime.

      There is AT LEAST as much, if not more, evidence that implicates Coles than implicates Davis.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Factors

    Yeah sure – just about all of condemned prisoners claim they're innocent prior to exection. Wonder why . . . .

    September 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • osaxono

      but he LOOKS innocent and all black people are victims of racism no way could he have done anything bad...hey look he has a cross around his neck...wow he must be innocent. Idiot sheep.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ted

    Execute all death row inmates NOW and get them off the dole!

    September 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael Hart

      Good idea! It's a shame they are allowed to appeal endlessly. Justice delayed is justice denied. Our judicial system mollycoddles killers sometimes.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Goody

    Someone else has confessed to this crime. The majority of witnesses have recanted their testimony. These two facts alone make this an absolute outrage. And the people who are calling for the murder of this individual are just sick freaks.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • osaxono

      Oh ya who? Just someone? People recant their testimony all the time doesnt mean it wasnt true. Hello it happend 20 years ago and his lawyer is drilling them for facts that his is reading and they are not. Do you remember what happend 20 years ago? Why not go read his rap sheet...thats a interesting read. Robery, drugs, burglary, assault, stong arm robbery, gang affiliation...ya hes just mis understood and a sweetheart.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      osaxono

      It's a odd thing about "justice"...
      YOu can only kill people for the crime they 'actually committed'~!.. It hardly matters what kind of man he is.. If he didn't kill this man, then he shouldn't be executed for it..
      Pay for the crimes he committed..
      Thats how our justice system is supposed to work..

      September 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MAVF

    Ohhhhhh I wish was in Dixie......hahaha!!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jr

    this guy shot another man in the face that lived. thats not disputed. he pistol whipped a man thats not disputed. for me thats enough. he had every intent to kill the first guy, but it didnt happen. this isn't a innocent man.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      True.
      But he is being executed for shooting this man..
      And if he didn't do that..then should he be executed?
      I would like to know why the witness's recanted...Why would they? That should be investigated first.. After alll.. Criminals have been known to lie? Maybe the real killer is meaner and they were afraid of him more at the time??

      September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  7. civilman

    The rest of the civilized world??? Where???

    September 20, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Aava16

    I am praying for this guy. May this bring peace to Mrs. McPhail and to her family.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mary

    The mother is wrong...
    I do believe in the death penalty... I am not one of those bleeding hearts that things it is wrong for some..
    What I do believe in, is absolute guilt if it is used..
    And when the witness;s that caused the conviction, recant.. i call that enough to doubt to NOT kill some one..
    she will not be there?
    It odd..If she has the stomach for this, then why not be there to see it?
    What it seems like, is that she has believed soem thing so long.. She can't be made to feel any other way.. For her this will end her own suffering.. And I think it won't..
    The doubt will have to bother her.. When it's done.. And can't be undone.. She will find it didn't make it right..
    This is as much about the family and how they will live with this as with the convicted..
    It's a mistake to executed a man when this much doubt has been cast..
    Sad all the way around....

    September 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      sorry about all the typ'os.. New key board.~!!

      September 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. stacey thompson

    This means this can happen to anybody at any time if nobody do anything about it ,and not just black but white people is getting it to!

    September 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAVF

      You're right...what you sow you'll certainly reap. It's the law of the land.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake

      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.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake

      You're right on any given day a person will shoot two people in the face and beat up a homeless man and then millions of people will come to the poor perpetrators aid. Of course these same concerned citizens overwhelmingly support the killing of thousands unborn children daily with no remorse. Eye for an Eye. Wait till the babies have their day on you!!! Shame

      September 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Open ur eyes

      Good, anyone who can shoot a person in the face, pistol whip another and murder a police officer in one night should be "put down" ASAP! He has been breathing way too long.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MAVF

    I can't believe that there's so much bigotry and hatred written online. Just think about...some of these individuals who spew hate...actually are leaders, teachers, clergy and law enforcement who have access to my black children. Let's get back to a segregated society...cuz you can't trust those over our children to be authentic.....what a scary and frightful shame.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      MAVF it happens on both ends. Whites and Blacks and Asians you name it. Sadly color is an issue because this guy is black. He did it and oddly enough after he gets put behind bars no other killings. Has nothing to do with color and racists come in all creeds. A guilty man will die, black or green I could care less other than the satisfaction of knowing my tax $$ won't fund his cable TV anymore

      September 20, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • jake

      Society and the wonderful Federal overseen school system have convinced American causcasians that they and only they are the big bad racists and all other shades are victims. It has also convinced our children that there is no God and it is fine to kill the unborn. This man may die, but it will not be due to his color but the fact that hit shot two innocent people in the face and beat up a homeless man same day and one died. His color is what is helping him avoid his fate that he himself filled with his own anger and malice.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thomas

    Thanks Mr. Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s about your article Troy Davis.
    Yes, That the way it was,
    USA Justified for Human right had been violated innocent citizens which it killing innocent people, none of evident clear and proved Mr. Troy Davis Guilty of that murder at the sense,
    The court and Judge Corruption to cover-up the action pick wrong man on this murder case.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carcharodon

      For the love of all that is Holy, learn English before you add something to a comment board. You sound completely illiterate.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Michael Hart

    Singapore and China have it right. They do not give much time from the conviction to the gallows. These endless appeals for the benefit of lawyers make me sick and our country poorer for wasting millions of dollars.

    September 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nan

    cowards you hide behind your racist comments with your fake names i feel sad for you and cnn needs to informed that the tea party along with angry white republicans have hijacked their comment page and to think some of you have children or will have children one day and will continue to pass on the hate that have passed down to you.get a life and try find some happiness in your life instead of sprewing your hate yes you have the right to your opinion but you guys are a little extreme

    September 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • george

      Apparently you are a left-wing nut.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      @George: Perhaps you are a right-wing nut.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • george

      @nick....perhaps you are right, but perhaps you are just a follower to afraid to commit to anything.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tony D.

    This whole situation is stupid.... 22 years and they still don't know exactly who the killer is? Madness!!!!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick S

      This isn't madness... THIS! IS! SPARTA, Georgia, about 100 miles Northwest of Savannah. You have a nice day now, ya hear!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75