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. getout

    just kill him he probably did something else just as bad . if he was white there would be no support, it is just because he is black

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

      Likewise, if he was not accused of killing a white man he would not have received the death penalty. Let's consider that! After tomorrow evening, both men will have something in common and that's death. They'll both be dead. I guess death is the great equalizer. Wouldn't you say?

      September 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Manny

      Kill an innocent man? This judge should be found guilty for murder!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GSN

    I have never had a family member murdered, but I am absolutely certain that I would find no solace in having the wrong person executed for the crime. I do not blame the family, in this case, because they have been convinced that Troy Davis is guillty, but the judicial process needs redress. I can think of no good reason why all of these witnesses would recant their stories, thereby admitting they committed the crime of perjury, except that they were overwhelmed with guilt for giving false testimony that will now lead to the execution of an innocent man. Those who cannot believe the court system can be flawed simply do not know the history of unequal treatment for minorities in this country or that justice has NEVER been blind!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bob


    September 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Reesee

    It's interesting to point out the the judge who several years ago overturned the US Supreme Court's decision to stay the execution indicated in his findings that some of the evidence in the case was not credible. Nevertheless, he denied Mr. Davis the right to a fair trial. There was a time when I would have found this to be a gross injustice and deplorable. Unfortunately, given the climate of the justice system in the US when it comes to certain groups of people, I'm not shocked or even moved. I expected this from the state of GA and nothing less. At this time I suggest Mr. Davis makes his peace with the Lord and prepare for his inevitable death. Likewise, I would suggest the victim's mother Ms. MacPhail forgives Mr. Davis before she dies. It would be to her detriment to die with an unforgiving heart and end up in a worse position than Mr. Davis.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. WOT

    Please stop calling the South, the Bible Belt it is none less than a Baal Belt! I hope my grandson does not read these bigot remarks, we all have red blood in our body! Stop the HATE!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Racist

    I'm a white male. The people on here that are bringing up race should be taking this man's place tomorrow. Amen.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      You just brought up race...

      September 20, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. HUalum

    march to the white house tomorrow starting from Howard University at 12 noon #saveTroyDavis

    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob


    September 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob

    tomorrow he will be just another guilty black who paid the price.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. William

    What about the rights of the dead police officer? SKIXTREME YOU SHUT YOUR LIBERAL MOUTH! How many freaking people need to say they saw him shoot the officer? What about the victim at the pool? You and all the other liberal heart morons out there need to SHUT ALL YOUR MOUTHS...

    September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      "How many freaking people need to say they saw him shoot the officer?"

      How about one, one that does not recant themselves later, and one that is not also a suspect?

      How many freaking people need to say they saw Coles shoot the officer? There's at least one of them, and they haven't recanted, and they are not a suspect trying to protect themselves.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Racist

    Bob, do yourself a favor and pull the trigger. You're a waist of life.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Better put a belt around that waist, wouldn't want to waste a good pair of pants if they fall down in the mud...

      September 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Linton Dawson


    Why is everyone upset? He was found guilty, execute him and move on. Better one inocent man be put to death, than 10 guilty men go free!!! Becides its not like we have a lack of people on the earth, one less will not make a dent in the population.


    Good, maybe someone will kill your wife!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis

      @Linton Dawson; if it was you are your child the person who was sentenced to death, I wonder how you would feel.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Agreed. It's been 22 years. Time to die for his crime.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • teamroper

      Linton: That's got to be the funniest thing I ever heard!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayne in Texas

      Wow... Though I see his response as way off base, your retort is just as vile.

      If ignorance and stupidity could get you on death row you two could be cell buddies...

      September 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Linton, except if that 1 innocent man was YOUR son. (I assume this is what you meant. Another person's son, not yours)

      September 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linton IsStupid

      Ok, seriously? If you were in his place, and you SINCERELY didn't commit the crime how would you feel? Would you feel glad, since you are making sure that 10 guilty people don't go free?

      September 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • SMH

      you're disgusting and a disgrace. you know nothing about this case. obviously.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |

      Linton Im from Texas where we used to shootem or hangem but now we injectem. Im with ya bud. Hell if we just executed all these death row inmates 24 hours after they was sentenced to death look how much money we would save. Innocence doesnt matter a jury foundem quilty...all it takes in my book. Hell, lets execute senior citizens too, their useless. Execute all them retards also...n the damn drug dealers...n the illegal aliens.

      But I got one question for ya Linton... WHAT IF IT WERE YOU? AND YOU WERE INNOCENT?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. AndyTheGameInventor

    I'm not sure I understand the rush to execute. I *do* support the death penalty, but I don't see that death and life in prison are all that different. If there is any doubt that he is the killer, it's better to delay the execution and get to the bottom of this. Obviously if he is innocent he shouldn't even be in jail. If he is guilty, spending more time on death row and being executed later is not exactly leniency.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim H

      Rush to 'execute'....this man committed the crime over 20 years ago....I'm wouldn't look at this as a rush to execute.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mo Hamhead

    I'm sure we can all agree that we hope he will find eternal peace once his Earth life-form has been prematurely terminated.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      One thing for sure; he will never murder again!

      September 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cdog


    September 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
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