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. D BONE

    Troy Davis, a real American hero, shooting a cop is wrong but he shouldn't have to die for it. rest in peace bro

    September 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis

      Maybe if you read the case, you would realize why millions of people around the world is marching for this men. The cops know who the real killer is but can link him to the murder.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      You sir, are an idiot.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      Troy Davis; a poster boy for avoiding the thug lifestyle. Say hello to "Tookie" Williams down there where it is very hot.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • D BONE

      they let that Anthony chick go with no punishment at all, and she murdered her on freaking child! the cant let this man die for some bs 20 years ago yall are stupid if you think otherwise

      September 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anne

    I wonder how many people supporting this decision are the same ones with those obnoxious Caylee Anthony memes all over their Facebooks. So the American court system is only wrong when the victim is a cute little white girl, but not when the defendant is a black man with a record? Justice doesn't work that way.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      How quickly you forget about OJ Simpson!

      September 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ceenmyrew

    There was tons of evidence against him. Ballistics evidence. Forensics evidence. They found poor macphail's blood on his shorts but that was inadmissible in court because the defense objected ( surprise). Guilty. Learn the facts, people. Appalling that he would lie and use up taxpayers money on appeals and put his family through this

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

      The police got the shorts in a search without a warrant. How incompetent was that? It's a friggin' MURDER investigation, and they get "evidence" in a search without a warrant. Why should we trust the incompetent fools who did something like that when they say they "found" it and swear they didn't plant the evidence themselves?

      Also the ballistics just show that the same gun was used on Cooper that was used on MacPhail. The ballistics didn't show who used the gun. Davis wasn't even at the party. Cooper didn't identify him, said he couldn't think why Davis would ever shoot him, and the prosecution states that Davis shot Cooper after an argument.

      There is at least one witness that saw Coles shoot MacPhail. There are several who say that Coles told them he murdered the cop.

      Seriously, now. There's tons of evidence, but it implicates Coles more than it implicates Davis. It also implicates the police and prosecution for being incompetent and unprofessional, perhaps even corrupt.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    An innocent black man is about to be lynched in Georgia.

    Meet the New South, same as the old South.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jason

      If you are referring to Troy Davis, you should be relieved that he will not contaminate the community with his thuggery. And in the interest of fair play, I hope that POS gets the death penalty for running over with his truck, that hard working, honest, man in Miss.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Johnny New York

    it doesn't matter if he is black or white the whole point he still murdered someone if not the cop he killed someone else in the face let him die. He still killed someone why do we need to let him live in prison. He is still a cold blooded murder he didn't do it in self defense. they should just let the guy the die and get it over with it. Why do we have to keep murders in jail especially one who shoots someone in the face.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Yeah, except that he didn't shoot Cooper in the face, either...

      September 20, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jay

    he shot a guy in the face at a pool party he left with the gun and a cop gets murder with the same gun YA he's innocent come on people its another black white issue that shouldnt be,he killed a cop want him to walk free like oj simpson because he's black this country is so fck up he should be in prison for life for shooting guy in face anyways Im sure thats not the only crime he commited

    September 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Davis

      Read the case before running your mouth. This has nothing to do with black and white issue. The man who killed the officer and did a drive NEAR the pool party is black too. Unfortunately, the police could not link the murder. There was police corruption amongst threatening witnesses to testify.

      September 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mary

    In New York, the monster who plotted and carried out the executions of two undercover black detectives and dumped their bodies out onto the street is now trying to say that he is mentally retarded and not responsible for his actions. He also got the death penalty, the first in 50 years for NY. Somehow I'm sure that the families of those poor brave men cried racism when this loser got sent up the river. I would bet he would be just as imaginative in his defense if like 30 people hadn't seen him do it. Personally I would have liked to see Coles, Davis and their tagalong buddy all be charged with murder and accessories to murder. Maybe one of them would have cracked under the pressure. I witnessed too many cop murders growing up in NY in the 60's and 70's to have much sympathy for them. I think that there are details of the crime left out of Davis's defense that the Parole Board and the cops know about. I sincerely hope that is the case.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      sorry meant to say * Somehow I'm sure that the families of those poor brave men DID NOT cried racism –

      September 20, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matthew Jandecka

    No comment.

    September 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anonymous

    Smoke and mirrors as the judge said

    September 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Denise

    My Grandmother's 1st cousin was sent to the chair and died. He was Acussed alledgedly coaxing 2 black abult men in the mid-1930's to rob a black couple that owned a little store with promise of liquor...The 2 black men recanted repeatedly....said Cops coherced them mercilessly due to the liquor,mob,Al Capone and prohibition links to the HYSLER family and teenaged Clyde, born 3-30-1916, was used as an example...Black citizens in Duval County (where the story ROSEWOOD came from) said years later that Clydes death was a travesty of justice.To this day many say he would NEVER have got the death penalty...he never KILLED a soul! Clyde Hysler, 23 white male, charged with Murder went to the Florida electric chair 6/15/42 after all his apperals ran out and even all the way to the U.S Supreme Court.
    FAMILY HISTORY against Clyde that sealed his fate...
    & &

    September 20, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Davis

    The prison system is not for reform. It is about making money.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Donald in CA

    Let me get this right, this guy is getting death with all the doubt, but charles manson is alive and well at a california prison. The crazie who killed her daughter in Florida got off the hook and will become a rich celebrity, Something seriously wrong here.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      It's called the south.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • redmonde

      I agree with you Donald and with Jim... This is the Justice of the South.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kent Leighty

      You are right – something is definitely wrong here. It will take courage to change this. I do not know if this person is innocent but there seems to be enough information to indicate serious doubt in this crime. I hope someone has the courage to overturn this.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • DP

      Jim you called it right!! Its the south!! I can say that because I was raised in the south and thats exactly the way the majority feel! Prejudice to this day. Sad Sad Sad world!!

      September 20, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. D BONE

    man how bout them dawgs?

    September 20, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jim

    I bet there is no capital punishment freak that if the truth be known they wouldn't be on death's row. Circus and cakes, something the south is good at. Without the south the US would be a superpower.

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

      Without the South the rest of the US wouldn't have even gotten off the ground. There is no part of the US that the US would be better off without.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • marketplace

      The south tried to separate from the north. Remember??? You are part of the reason the south is still in the union. I hope to God you don't live down here. Without you we wouldn't have to read your crap.

      September 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D BONE

    you crazy

    September 20, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
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