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. JGrisham

    Folks, no one has positively identified Troy Davis as being at the pool party, and certainly no one identified him as the shooter of Mr. Cooper

    September 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • dr r


      September 20, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Johnson

      love your books John! lol

      But Yes this man I believe is innocent and he would not be the first to be executed in this country unfortunately!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. William

    The truth is that we as a society are too liberal. Until this country start executing more people, the crime rate will continue to rise. It is really a simple solution, if you kill you will be killed! Makes it very easy. We should never ever have to spend millions of dollars on these five star prisons. Buy some land in the country, put up a 25 foot fence will 250,000 volts of electricity, give these turds water, bread , cots to sleep on, and tents. I promise you the prison population would reduce overnight. If someone kills a police officer or anyone else in cold blood they should be executed within 30 days of beiong found guilty.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      "Until this country start executing more people, the crime rate will continue to rise."

      You know, the fact is that the murder rate is higher in states with the death penalty than in states that do not have the death penalty.

      But don't let facts get in the way of a good theory...

      September 20, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • JGrisham

      William, you're ignorant! The crime rate has decreased at roughly 3% for the last 10 years (nearly 7% last year). At the same time there has been fewer and fewer death sentences and executions. Get the facts! I'm saddened that my fellow Americans are so ... how do you say it...IGNORANT

      September 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Johnson

      Too Liberal?

      Have you read the posts here? Scary, escpecially if you are BLACK in America!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ceenmyrew

    Blacks are such victims

    September 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reasonable Person

      To JGrisham......... Davis V. State S07 A. 1758. The Georgia Board of Appeals is sending this man to his death, No higher court can overrule Georgia. I agree with everything you have said and thanks for standing up for what is right, without prejudice.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ben

    he desreves to be fried. any other person who does this kind of crime should know what to expect. I say do not waste too much time with this killer. Kill him. do not waste a cent of our money with this garbage

    September 20, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Johnson

      I am embarrased to say I am a Conservative Republican but I DO NOT believe in the Death Penalty!
      An enlightened society such as ours does not execute people, LIFE WITH NO PAROLE is justice as well.
      ONE innocent man executed is too many and ofcourse the black population is far more likely to be placed in this position for socio-economic and cultural reasons to complex to go into here...

      September 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • JGrisham

      He's an innocent man. And I hope to God you live long enough to have someone falsely identify you as a murderer. 285 People have been cleared by DNA of crimes they allegedly commited...they had DNA evidence, so they escaped. If 285 were cleared, can you imagine how many were not? The state of Georgia is going to kill an innocent man tomorrow...and i might go to hell for saying this, but I hope you're met with the same fate one day

      September 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Johnson

      and if you are wrong Ben?

      September 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. daveinla

    Buh bye, have a safe journey.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nicholas121

    If they kill that man, Atlanta will have a riot on their hands, much bigger and nastier than anything the U.S has seen in years. Just the shear number of people that will fill the streets, will be amazing, and very very very destructive. I live in Tampa, Fl that's about a 6 to 9 hour drive. That's a ride that's worth taking, and there's probably 100,000 more just like me, ready to join the millions that live and Atlanta that won't stand for this. If the wrong decision is made, the people will put things in perspective for those who don't see the tragedy in this.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Dang, I wonder if you're right. Seems we may find out within a day or two...

      September 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JGrisham

    go to for the facts of the case. If you read the facts of the case and still think this man is guilty, then so be it. But unless you know, for example, that (i) Troy Davis was never idientified as being at the pool party where Mr. Cooper was shot (the police only found a .38 caliber shell at that scene and linked it to the MacPhail scene) or (2) that Mr. Young has since confessed that the person who chased him for his beer and pistol whipped him was a complete strange to him and he couldn't be sure if it was Mr. Davis or Red Coles who in fact stuck him with a revolver, then you shouldn't make ignorant comments.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Linton Dawson

    ipmutt = dick.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Linton Dawson

    TriXen – glad you will meet your maker with that post on his/her mind.

    you'll be on the fast track to hell.....enjoy YOUR ride!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob


    September 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. dr r


    September 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bob


    September 20, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. agavemike

    In my opinion, they should have executed him for shooting the guy in the face at the pool party. We are not talking about some innocent guy that was just walking down the street and nabbed by the police.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Yeah, except he probably didn't shoot Cooper, or even pistol-whip the homeless guy for that matter.

      Coles shot the cop.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JGrisham

      Yes, Mike we are talking about a completely innocent man - at lease innocent of the crimes he allegedly committed. He was not at the pool party (at least no one has identified him as such). It is also a fact that Red Coles (the actual killer) argued with Mr. Young (who was pistol whipped) and chased him for his beer that was just bought. What motive would Troy Davis have in pitol whipping Mr. Young? To fight Red Coles battle? Read the facts of the case, please.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bruce

    1. Sylvester Coles murders Mark MacPhail.
    2. Troy Davis is executed for Coles' crime.
    3. ???
    4. Profit! Justice!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. skixtreme

    We're basing someones guilt on lack of evidence. I have read posts on here that indicate he is guilty regardless. If you weren't part of the jury or actually there when the crime was committed, SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

    Here are the facts:
    Davis was convicted in 1991 of the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. But the trial included no physical evidence to support his conviction. The prosecution produced no murder weapon, no DNA evidence and no surveillance tapes.

    He was sentenced to death on the basis of nine so-called eyewitnesses, who testified in the trial. Seven of those witnesses, however, have since recanted or materially changed their stories. The jury, for instance, relied on two people who did not witness the crime but who testified that Davis had confessed to the shooting. Since then, both have said they were lying.

    Is that basis to put put a man to death? I believe in the death penalty and we should condem all GUILTY murderers, molesters and others who commit horrible crimes to death. If all states followed what Texas does I'm sure USA crime rate would be lower than it is.

    It's all about the tax dollar. As long as the state of Georgia keeps him alive everyone in the state is paying taxes to go toward his meals, room and board. Let's release the poor man already... Politicians suck! Good Ole Boys Suck! KKK sucks!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kellie

      I am so sick of people running their mouths and they haven't a clue what they are talking about. Repeating wrong information is ignorant. Learn your history for crying out loud. All of us are granted the same rights to enter a library and gain knowledge .. try it! The KKK was not originated to kill a race of blacks. Second, preach your crutch of color issue but you let me know when you have figured out Ga isnt Alabama and you have seen the ratio of BLACK men in leadership there who support this decision. Thirdly, black on black crime kills more blacks in america than any other crime. Let me guess? Repression? Get real. Not a one of you alive today has ever been a slave and DAMNED sure not a one of you today reaches out to those in AFrica who CLEARLY state you are not their brothers! The race card has lost its edge.. you embarrass yourself! You embarrass your culture and I am ashamed FOR YOU! You know nothing about the days of slavery or how because of it the black community thrives today in areas where they choose to! Wrap your little head around that! If a black man hadn't owned slaves you would be in another country with no reason to cry race because you would be too busy starving! LIKE YOUR BROTHERS YOU DO NOTHING ABOUT!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
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