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. paul

    Wait just a minute here. He has clearly said he didn't do it! And despite that, the racially diverse jury STILL convicted him? How unjust!!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. paul

    I've been trying to find a booking photo of this nice, clean-cut guy, but have been unsuccessful. Anybody have a hyperlink?

    September 20, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul Kamienski

    I can tell you personally that a life sentence is FAR worse than the death penalty; I was exonerated after 20 long years in prison and am innocent. I can`t tell you whether Troy Davis is , but the case reeks of the same foul-smelling tactics that were used to convict me that were later found to be innuendo and coerced testimony and deal-making. At the least, Davis should be given a new trial instead of himself being murdered, albeit with proper paperwork. Simply deplorable................

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

      I'll bet you're lying. When it comes to the death penalty and other social issues, people will spew lies, to try and persuade others by using dramatic lies...

      September 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |

      Mr. Kamienski I am glad that in the end you got justice. Everyone commenting here knows that you can never recover all the years you spent in prison which have been lost forever.

      But sadly, I also know that he majority of those commenting here would have happy to see you put to death !

      What a sad commentary on the morals and ethics of our American citizens.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Kamienski

      Amen Tony, Amen..........................

      September 20, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Alan

    Is this justice, or revenge?

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

      Revenge is punishment just as justice is punishment. Semantics - they're the same thing. And that's not always a bad thing, is it?

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

      If you do the crime, you must do the time.......His time is up. Kill him now.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • CMD

      There seems enough doubt to commute to life in prison. The GA pardons board seem very proud of the fact that they have never granted clemency and this makes me wonder if this was ever considered fully. It also concerns me that this is the case of a black defendant and a white police officer in the South. As a nation we need to ask ourselves if the death penalty is serving as a deterrent or not. I suggest that our murder rate versus other developed western nations shows clearly that it doesn't.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. leky

    Casey A. Kills her baby n goes free cause of lack of evidence, This man have done 20 yrs, and how about if he really Innocent , now its going t be executed, ? wow

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

      WOW! Hooked on Ebonics really worked for you huh? Even if this guy was innocent of this particular crime, I'm sure he wasn't exactly a model @#$%ing citizen either. He would've done something else to get thrown in jail anyway. After all, he is black.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alistair

      20yrs aint enough to punish an innocent? I dont know who runs these Parole Boards...they are inhumane and I wonder had Troy been white, if the clemency would be granted. I know it sounds like a racist card play but its really not. Think!

      September 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  6. William

    this turd is getting what he deserves, yes I am white and i would say the same thing if the murderer were white

    September 20, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. William

    JUSTICE! Why do none of you bleeding heart left winged goof balls have no pity for this officer? This thug killed two people, he wasnt just walking home from church. HE IS A FREAKING COLD BLOODED MURDERING PIECE OF 5HIT

    September 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • string em up

      So, although evidence cannot prove the man is guilty, your need for revenge outweighs the most basic right this man has... that he is innocent until PROVEN guilty. What is really odd is that many people like you, who are so quick to join a lynch mob frequently say: muslims 'don't value human life'.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cat

      there is lots of evidence that he did not do it! this happens more than we know in our judicial system and one mistake like that is too many. the death penalty is archaeic,costs more than prison,and does not help society in any good way...if you re a believer,,thou shalt not kill does not have a special clause that its okay for a country or a judicial system either. and if progressive liberals were running things the whole world would be a better place,dearie.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. smartypants

    The media has gotten "the community" so riled up and in such a frenzy, there will no doubt be civil unrest. Probably more murder. Perhaps another death penalty case will arise out of the unrest. And CNN will no doubt try to roust the troops to protest THAT case too. This circle of violence in the community has been atrocious for America. Revenge and hatred, for cops and for Whites and for the establishment. CNN loves to foment this. Shame on them.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fred Garvin

    Everybody suck it!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jred

    dang!! You know you're screwed when the Pope rallies for you and still get denied!!

    September 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Deanna

    OK, so you can kill a child and walk away and get book & movie deals...and with no real evidence to kill this man...he goes down tomorrow...really? I'm not trying to pull a race card moment...but doesn't this just seem azz backwards? *I love my country by FEAR the judicial system (SMH)...

    September 20, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dylan Whitman

    This is disgusting. We hold places like Iran accountable on the world stage for unfair prosecution but we have a situation which absolutely has reasonable doubt and higher ups blame it on the lower courts and won't get involved. If it has to be the president, someone needs to stop this and make sure it is properly evaluated.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. r rega

    May God have mercy.

    September 20, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rosenfeld

    Difficult for me, as a French to express clearly my opinion, but let me propose this: if a man is condamned to a death sentence by a tribunal if he is guilty, one thing is to make him hear and understand that he desserves no more than to be condamned and executed but in an other hand he should hear and understand that our society will not depend of his crime to be as dirty as he is. He has to admit that the fact he is alive only depend of our ability to avoid the idea to solve by the same way the right to live or not. The sentenced has to be done for "justice" but not executed for humanity.
    Edmond Rosenfeld – Paris – France

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

    Georgia NEVER gives black people a break. And as for the victim's family, all I can say is I sympathize but it isn't justice if an innocent man gets executed

    September 20, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
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