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. SekemetKali

    This is a real travesty if Troy Davis is sentenced to death and he is innocent. I would like to execute the entire Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole Today Tuesday at 12 noon.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |

      Yeah, and many ignore the fact that Rick Perry allowed an innocent man to be executed in Texas.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Duane

      It seems this case has been looked through over through a microscope. Those who are making this decision must have all the facts in the case not open to the media. Sounds like justice is being served

      September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • cheeseroll

      Yeah right. Are you going to claim next that he is convicted of murdering a police officer because he is black?

      You completely abandon reason and claim that the State's entire Parole Board should be executed. For what crime they committed..?

      You claim that what if he's innocent. But then again, there is overwhelming evidence that he is guilty. Ever consider that?


      September 20, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • VinoBianco

      If executing the innocent somehow makes us feel better because SOMEONE was punished for a crime, whether he committed it or not, we sure have a sick sense of "justice". I wish this country would grow up – almost seems like we're moving backwards sometimes...

      September 20, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. TriXen

    Adios MF!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • yeltzin

      Well – yes this incarnation. Everything in the universe is manifest energy and we know energy is transformed but never spent – thus the best scientific argument for reincarnation. I predict this monster will be reborn next to an open latrine in Haiti and will live his next life in pure heII. He might even become Johnny Cochran's younger sibling there.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Larry

    This is the outcome that you get when convictions are tied to the re-election of judges and politicians. Popularity of decision-making trumps impartial application of the law.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • wow

      You could not be more right. Its sad that politicians will kill to get re-elected.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. hicham

    if he is innocent, he will not be the first innocent person to die in jail ,not the last.
    if he is innocent , he will not be the first person to spend 20 years in jail , nor the last. in fact approximately 25 % of worldwide prisoners are in USA (almost 2.3 millions peoples , while not all of them innocent , but sure very large numbers of them should not be there., whoever when the jail is business for big corporation that run behind profit, they wish if they are 100 millions prisoners, as more peoples in prison , more business.
    while ,whoever , we cannot forget,is still fair system that are been delivered by the peoples ( 12 jurors has to convicted you without single person objection ) , so to me seven peoples coming out 20 years later to claim that they have been pressure to lie, it look to me unreal, how you sleep for 20 years while you know that you did send someone to death row , or even in jail .

    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Jenniffer

      These people recanted years ago. They didn't wait 20 years.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. laci duke

    i think at the very least they should grant him a new trial..rather 100 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man be condemned

    September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Mykel1970

      Really? So it's better to have 100 serial killers on the loose than have one innocent man behind bars?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Granniesbirdy

      Laci are so right! None of us are exempt from being falsely execute an innocent man threatens all of our freedoms.....I don't know if he is guilty or not...but it would be better to have him serve life until his innocence can be proven.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. TriXen

    HeII yes.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. Granniesbirdy

    The only way to protect the innocent IS to protect the guilty....everyone must be protected under the law...there is no justice when the innocent are convicted....think about it...that could be you or your child or your parents...I think that his execution should be stopped however I don't think that he should be set free until his innocence is proven.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. AhSnap!

    You sir are a delporable racist. The only way u think is is hate........kkk? really? How about this guy murdered someone was found guilty and now he is going to pay for it? IS that a simple enough message or do I need to break it down to a 3rd grade reading level?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Hoofleau

      Seven of nine witnesses have recanted their testimonies saying they were intimidated by police to bear false witness. C'mon, read the history of this case before sounding off. An innocent man could be put to death here. What if it were you?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      How about when we go about killing someone via the death penalty, we take the time to dot our i's and cross our t's and ensure due process of law is followed first?

      Oh, wait. Nobody cares about due process any more. Let's just get our vengeance on...

      September 20, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Steven


      September 20, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Samantha

      What you fail to realise is that they NEVER found the gun. The only thing tying him to the crime and weapons are witness testimony. There's no proof he even owned the supposed 'missing' gun. 7 of 9 witnesses have recanted , stating they felt harassed by the police and were basically told to say it was him. There are witnesses saying Cole the "star" witness, has actually told them he did it, and he owned a .38 calibre gun, same one used in the crimes, which he claimed to lose the same night. How convenient for him. This is an obvious miscarriage of justice and needs to be properly looked into. Know your facts, man.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • luvlee83

      How do any of you KNOW if he did anything? The justice system is a joke. 7 witnesses recanted? For crying out loud, anybody that watches Law & Order knows that if 7 witnesses recanted, the JUSTICE system itself says reasonable doubt. That's 3rd grade sir.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • justiceforall2

      How sick you are. Those killing Troy arre murderers. You are among the minority .I lived during the KKKs killings in the South so know it is so true.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve harnack

      It's simple all right, and that's the problem. Real life is seldom so simple and when it comes to death there is no second chance to get it right. If someday conclusive proof finds that he wasn't guilty after all would you be in favor of executing all of the people involved in his murder?

      September 20, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Johnson

      But if he did not?

      September 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ablackman

      How about this guy..DIDN'T murder ANYONE

      September 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • J Lee

      You actually made it out of the 3rd grade!

      September 22, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  9. Katy

    This is not a matter of whether or not you believe murderers should be sentenced to the death penelty. This is a matter of a black man being denied justice in the face of immense doubt. There are significant reasons to believe that he is innocent. Yet we appear to be too consumed by a desire to kill to pause and consider our actions.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • How many will there be?

      Racist number three, and counting.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  10. RedSea


    September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pamela Robeson

    That's what you get when you kill someone! And from what I understand you shot someone in the face earlier in the night before killing him and then you did it again, so you think you can wander the streets and kill people. No your sick and the victim's family deserves peace!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  12. NP

    Look at who is aligned with Georgia. When will you evolve, Georgia?
    2011 – As of 5 May 2011 executions have been reported in the following 9 countries during 2011: Bangladesh, China, Iran, North Korea, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, UAE, USA.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. wow

    You should read up on it. Several of the witnesses were told by police to sign a statement in which they did not give or else. There is so much doubt in this conviction its scary. I just boggles my mind how we, as a free society can execute someone if there is a slight possibility they didn't do it. If it was my family member who was killed, I would want the right person held accountable. Not just someone held accountable. The wife said," "Well, justice is done, that's the way we look at it. That's what we wanted." So this poor guy who may be innocent gets executed because thats what she wanted. The blood is on her hands. May God have mercy on her soul.
    "Better a 100 guilty men go free than 1 innocent man be locked up."

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jennifer Montgomery

    Really? I truelly believe that there needs to be hard evidence before we "execute" someone. I can't imagine the pain of the victim's family, my deepest sympathy is with the family.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • wow

      Wonder how the victims family will feel if they can prove after execution that he was not the one who killed the cop? Who gets charged with this guys murder? The state of georgia? It think not. They will pay his family like 100K for their loss and move on and execute another innocent person. georgia, from now on you will "never be on my mind," you barbaric hillbillies. prove he is 100% guilty, then execute if you wish, but not because, well, he could be guilty so therefor we must kill him.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jj

    some common sense FINALLY! edward delequa you are hereby sentenced to death. hope you burn in hell! even in life your pleas fall upon deaf ears you are a nasty repugnant man who deserves to rot in hell for what you have done!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
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