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. Reasonable Person

    Reasonable Doubt defined........A real doubt, based upon reason and common sense after careful and impartial consideration of all the evidence, or lack of evidence, in a case.
    Proof beyond a reasonable doubt, therefore, is proof of such a convincing character that you would be willing to rely and act upon it without hesitation in the most important of your own affairs. However, it does not mean an absolute certainty.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bil

    7 of 9 recant & GA still says NO! gene pool in GA needs a lot more chlorine!

    September 20, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • THColumbusGA

      Many, many of us Georgians see this as a horrible injustice.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mel

    Seems that the only thing left to do to get to the bottom of this case is to contact Eric Holder at:
    Office of the Attorney General.
    (202) 514-2001
    The AG should be able to do something to stay this execution and examine the evidence in this case, if only to put it on hold, same as in another case. Dial away.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ablackman

    Where are the "self-proclaimed" Black leaders??? Where.. oh.. where... are ya'll now!!!!??!?!

    September 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ange

      If you have been listening to the radio, operation push, nation action network you would have known that this has been going on for about a year to get him freed by the bleaders, pope, etc!!

      September 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tensor

      7 of the 12 jurors who convicted Troy Davis were black. Could it just be that he is guilty?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • newsreel

      Trying to provoke ? play the race card ? only uneducated, poor ppl would lower themselves in such a way. So where are the white leaders when a white convict is scheduled for execution ? Does leader have to act on each execution ?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ange

    The governor needs to step in on this!! Because if there is no evidence and 7 witness recanted their statements , 3 jurors stated they would not have convicted him if they had all of the evidence especially information regarding the weapon. Governor this case needs be overturned, grant a stay of execution and a new trial!!

    September 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Infidel

      Ya right! Are you stupid? Ignorant? Both?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kate

    a black man in georgia? poor guy had no chance.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • alleycat

      dont play the racist caRD

      September 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Infidel

      Playing the race card again, eh? Sorry are out of luck.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Enough

      Sad but true! They're still telling folks the civil war is over down there.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      Yep, the seven black jurors that helped convict him, were obviously racist!!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ceecee

      A state of 96,000,000 hicks...agree he doesn't stand a chance!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • ceecee

      I meant 9,600,000 ...accidentally counted parts of adjoinning states.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      DIS state run by blacks what you mean.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. No Justice in America

    They don't care that he's innocent, only that he's black.

    September 20, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. College student

    I think the only person that is allowed to take someone's life is God and that its a joke that the government can just go around killing people. It seems to me that the The Government is no better than the murderer himself. I mean I think the family of the victim has the right to see this man sit in jail and pay for what he did, if he did it. Lets get real here though why should anyone be allowed to take someone's life???? I mean everything happens for a reason God has a plan for everyone. The Government doesn't and the thing is my Generation will be in power one day in this country and we will put an end to this. I mean if you honestly believe in the death penalty in this day of age you must be a redneck.

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

      You didn't pass 3rd grade grammar, did you?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul

      You're right. No one has the right to take a life. Like this guy did...

      September 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Death Penalty Lover

    He wants to keep living in prison? Naaaaaah....get rid of him!!...when the trash is full, take the garbage to the dump!!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. humbleyourself

    Needless to say my fellow Americans..... our system stinks!! I pray for you Mr. Davis.. And the family anxiously awaiting your murder.. There is no closure.. Just more proof of a screwed up justice system.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Infidel

      Oh sure, the murderer is the victim. What a screwed up way of thinking!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • humbleyourself

      I happen to know alot about this case... And yes I will respect your opinion.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |

      INFIDEL... f..u! The whole question here is whether the man is the murderer. Was he wrongfully convicted for a crime he may not have committed?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • humbleyourself

      Thank you mister Dallas.. I was just going to let him be ignorant... But thank you!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      Based on the evidence that I know of I would assume that Troy Davis is guilty and his supporters seem to be using the race card and the fact that the crime happened in Georgia to gain sympathy for him. Well too much time is spent discussing the perp rather than Macphail. The real problem with the death penalty is that it is not used often enough, and when it is used it takes 15 years or more to get closure.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      What is screwed up is the fact that it is taking so long to carry out Davis's sentence, How long did it take the victim Macphail?

      September 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark Yelka

    Is it really worth it to society to let these things drag on so long. Any process can result in error. Letting criminals loose early statistically causes some people to be murdered. The hard truth is that much of what is done in the legal system is bad economics. Prisoners should be made to work with no salary. Let them earn their keep. Death row inmates should up to 2 appeals... then no more. Just not worth it economically.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |

      Well MARK YELKA just what should the dollar amount be before we kill them? i want you to provide the exact amount you have determined a human life is worth !

      September 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. avayandia

    I wonder if the US 1) allowed life without parole and 2) honestly meant it, the key is gone.... if we would get people like me to agree its time to get rid of the Death Penalty. Otherwise you end up with people like Charles Manson eligible for parole (no kidding, guy has a parole hearing EVERY YEAR). There is something seriously wrong with our justice system if we even entertain letting people like him back on the streets....which we do because CA abolished the death penalty.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Clarence E. Dade

    Mr. President,

    Have Courage and save this man's life!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • zzdagz

      u have to be kidding HE KILLED A COP!!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. humbleyourself

    After reading some of these unintelligent posts.. I know why America is turning into the arm pit of society... People please remember to act like you have a piece of your brain left.. PLEASE!! Act like you are educated and humble you might see yourself in a whole new aspect!!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      Had the victim been a black man, Afro-American or whatever else yall like to call yourselves Davis would be dead . And the media would not be making a circus of this HAAAA HAAAA HAAAA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KILL THE GUILTY COP KILLER< NANCY GRACE WHY YOU SCARED TO JUMP ON THIS BAND WAGON.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. weezyomac

    time to die. eye for an eye! the way this country should be! we have to stop feeling sorry for this guy! we need to adopt the laws of middle eastern judicial system

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

      WEEZYMAC if that is the way you really feel, then renounce your citizenship, move to Iran and join AlQuieda !!!!

      You are sick!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
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