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. DizzyG

    I feel sorry for the cop, not this loser

    September 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anonymous

    Btw, you can easily pay off people to "recant"

    September 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Sherron Teal

    I have read that witnesses recanted their stories, I have read their is no physical evidence. I have no idea if this man is guilty or innocent. I would like to know what evidence they have against him, but I haven't read that anywhere. How can any of you come to a sound conclusion without all the facts??

    September 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ian

    This is just absolutely absurd. Why would this many people come forward and lie for a convicted murderer when that is just unheard of here in the United States. You know how many people are in jail today proclaiming innocence that committed said crime. I don't see people rushing to aid them when they are about to be executed and I live in the execution Capitol of the world. The only thing I see is a bunch of protester that are anti-death penalty. I don't think that man killed that police officer.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      If you dont think he killed the cop, then why are you against the people who are trying to free him, due to the lack of evidance on his conviction?

      September 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. GBanger

    They never should have done away with the electric chair. He killed a "COP" Stop with the race card. This was murder.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      His race is of no importance. He is going to be executed when 7 out of 9 witnesses now admit they lied because they were afraid of going against what the police wanted them to say. The Memphis 3 are white and I think it is possible they could have been railroaded also. Don't be so quick to kill - that decision can't be reversed.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ricardo

      just your name shows the level of intelligence. were you there? ever been railroaded? you really think a person should die because others lied? because they can't afford the best legal counsel? oh sorry, didn't want to use a big confusing word like counsel, shoulda drawn a picture for you, hateful racist.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      the state failed on the burden of proof, there is no grounds.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GBanger

    IAN. You need a wake up call!!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • ricardo

      dear idiot, i sincerely hope you are the next person to get framed, then you'll see how it feels.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Im Just A Person

    Why Not Give The Clemency To The MAn And Let him live life in prison.. HELLO HES GUNNA DIE ANYWAYS :/

    September 20, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. GBanger

    Question
    Who is "you guy's"? It's just like "you people" Go figure!!!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. menscar14

    I don't a thing about this case BUT what I do know is that if there is any amount of doubt he shouldnnnnnnnnnnn't have been found guilty. just as Casey Anthony. She got away with murder because of doubt. so what is happening here.
    I only pray that the right decision will be made. if he is guilty he will pay for his crime. but if he is innocent God please have Mercy.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Childlikehope

    They matched the bullet casings to one gun. He was at the pool party with his gun shooting another in the face, he was at the scene beating a homeless man and his gun left shells around the police officer. Witnesses get harrassed into changing their tune. Just look at the board and you can figure out why some might recant. He's had his due process and our law currently have the death penalty... given he killed an officer of the law, it isn't surprizing he got the maximum sentence in the land. He's not innocent. You may not like the death penalty, but let's not try to make it out to be an innocent citizen. It's disrespectful to the family of the slain.

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

      I would agree with you if all murderers who were sentenced got the same sentence. When's the last time a woman who killed her husband (preacher's wife in Tennessee; woman with car in Texas, or even Lorena Bobbit), when did any of them get the full extent of the law? Jeffrey Dahmer didn't get the death penalty and he ate 15 people. When is the last time someone who wasn't from a trailer park or from the other side of the tracks was on death row? You like death row because people like you and me don't get put on death row.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • CMFP

      Well said. I'd like to add that even if he didn't kill the officer (which I think he very likely did) he is still a worthless criminal. Whats with all the compassion for such a horrible person. I'm tired of being scared of criminals. You are a bad guy you run the risk of your bad works biting you. I hope he gets bit hard tomorrow. One less jerk we have to worry about running into in our own lives.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • ricardo

      well, if questioning a frame-up is disrespectful to the victoim's family, then let's all be quiet and let the innocent die one of the most cruel deaths imaginable. child like? you got that one right.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      witness lied to protect themselves from the cops, that is the proof of police misconduct. Most police officers far over-reach there mandates, and sometimes they get poped because of it. I dont cry when the police die, because they probibly deserved it. Walk around with there badges and guns, just like any other gang-banger, then want my sympathy. STOP BREAKING THE LAWS, FIX YOUR OWN HOUSES, ad MAYBE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WILL RESPECT YOU AGAIN. It is "protect and serve" not harass and collect.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Childlikehope

      Agreed... witnesses lie. So follow the proof... the bullet cassings, the timing, the homeless man who got beat.

      Life without parol for multiple drug crimes & robbery is the price my cousins are paying and they didn't kill anyone to my knowledge anyway. I doubt I'd get a light sentence if I did a crime. If he had plead guilty he would have the *same* sentence as they have for killing an officer of the law (or maybe less if it was you or I).

      I vote. You have the right to vote. Change the system if you don't like it.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bigwilliestyles

    What is really appalling about the death penalty is that the difference between a death sentence and life in prison is whether the defendant is willing to plead guilty or not. Not because of the crime itself, but to SAVE THE STATE or GOV THE COST OF A TRIAL. If Mr Davis had plead guilty, he would currently be sentenced to life. The deciding factor, as always, is money.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. x15pilot

    He stood over an officer and shot him point blank in the face after already shooting him. He was on a rampage that night. The evidence shows the bullet casings found at the scene match bullet casings found from him shooting someone at a pool a little earlier. That's like matching bullets, it may be better - come on folks, this isn't hard.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DNA

    Even if the criminal is a truly evil person, it takes another evil person to call for their death.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mickey1313

      state sponsored makes every single tax payer in the state a murderer. We all have blood on our hands.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. daferg

    I find it amazing that most Dems think its ok to have an abortion but are against the death penalty. No need to get your anti life panties in a knot typing something to respond. I do not plan to look at this forum again so save your time. Not only am I glad this guy is going to die but I wish he would have gotten cancer 20 years ago. He shot a man in the face, beat up a homeless guy over a beer and killed a cop. Our world would be a better place if more men like this were executed.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      Go ahead and cheer on the death. I hope your sons, friends, or you are never railroaded by law enforcement. If you were, you would be glad to see the protesters.

      September 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Canuck Don

    Sounds a lot like the novel "The Confession" by John Grisham, in which an innocent black man is executed in Texas despite a lack of physical evidence, shady police tactics and a witness recantting his testimony. Naturally, the truth was revealed shortly after the inmate is executed, much to the surprise of stubborn redneck politicians and pompous court officials. With so much in doubt in the Davis case and witnesses backing out, shouldn't there be a new trial? If the evidence doesn't fit, then you have to acquit.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
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