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. Liz

    the criminal justice system is not full proof. if you think innocent people should not be in prison, give the innocence project

    September 20, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Puonmyshu

    Let's protest at the mall. My posse will take, I mean protest outside the jewelry store!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Neutral

    Why is it that when you see a black person get convicted with anything, it's always a racial issue? Whatever the color of your skin is, black, brown, yellow or white, if you kill somebody, there's a law that will decide for your consequences. Lessons to all: DON'T KILL!

    September 20, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ricardo

      it's a racial issue because many cops are racist. it's a racial issue because blacks typically don't have the same quality defense as better off whites. it's a racial issue because blacks get murdered by the state in numbers way out of line with their numbers. it is absolutely sickening.
      if there are no built-in social and economic disadvantages that are beyond the control of blacks, then I guess you have to say that blacks are worse people than whites. looking at what's going on here, that seems unlikely.

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

      by the way, you're not neutral. nice t

      September 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. VikingWaves

    It is the "American Way " – The Violent States of Hysteria !

    September 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JB

    Why do people get so up in arms about criminals on death row. Many people receive the death penalty EVERYDAY, they are called innocent murder victims. All these do gooders don't seem to give a rats ass about them. Very funny world.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laurena

      Because killing people is W R O N G, and killing people for killing people doesn't seem to be supporting that concept.

      You're stupid.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      when you or a son or a nephew or friend is wrongly accused, tried and convicted, then you will be singing another tune. then you will blame Obama. conservatives are the ones who like death panels.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sambo Pete

      JB, don't let the progressive cry babies get you down. Troy Davis is a killer, and with his execution one fact is certain. He won't kill again. Be proud in your position; the evidence as I reviewed it over the years is compelling as to Davis' guilt. That said, I personally would like to see the USA eliminate the death penalty, but with all the violence out there I'm afraid it's a pipe dream.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      What capital punishment teaches, is that the state considers killing someone a legitimate way of solving a problem. So, to some people that means if you have a problem with a person, one acceptable way of solving it is to kill them. On one side this means that a problem spouse or child, or a witness, is a situation where society considers killing a reasonable solution. Sure, you risk getting killed in return, but them's the chances you take.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Douglas

    Obama I think the time to step in is near. This is a case that is sure to split the nation in half. I dont really have an opinion on if he is guilty or not. However the flaws in testimony along with lack of evidence all would leave me to the most logical and unprejudiced answer. If they find that he is lacking evidence to prove his innocence then due to the recanting of statments by key witnesses whose validity is what landed him there they should just allow him to spend the rest of his life im prison. Which would also be horrible if he didnt commit the crime. But civil unrest and the judicial failure is at stake.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • romw2894

      You seem to imply that you really don't know anything about the case. I accept that so please stay out. The defendants attorneys are obviously going to be bias regarding the testimony and facts. The DA's office likewise biased about his guilt. However, the courts who hear both sides and are paid to be objective (unlike the attys for the defense or state, which are paid to be biased) and they found nothing out of order with the trials verdict. So give it a rest. Justice has been and will be served in the case.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • nolongerdem2

      They were not allowed to enter evidence due to no search warrant when they searched his mother's house. They found shorts that had been washed and there was evidence on them. There is always more to the story than we will ever know. I think it is ridiculous the lengths prosecutors have to go in order to get a conviction.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Really???

    Get on with it already.

    September 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dobermomma

    Maybe someone can explain this to me, how do the victim's family members know for sure that they are executing the man who killed their son/husband and father if they were not there at the time of the crime? If it's because the police told them so, police make mistakes, they are human after all. If it can't be said for certain that someone is responsible for a crime, how can we stand behind an execution?

    September 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • romw2894

      Because 12 unbiased people found him guilty beyond a REASONABLE doubt. That is how our system works. Just becuase you have been led to believe that something was wrong...don't be so naive.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Katiejo818

    "That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia"

    September 20, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  10. truth hurts

    since this will go down as a vengence sentence for a cop dieing count on more dead cops dieing by vengence too..where's a gun toting thug when we need one.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BlueDem1

    Davis may very well be guilty, however the evidence seems pretty weak. Is any DNA evidence available to review?

    September 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. kevin

    where were all these people when Mark McPhail a police officer that served his country in the US Army and protected people as a police officer until his last breath was gunned down by this animal......who is begging for his life like a coward...........sometimes riding people from the face of the earth is the only solution......Troy davis needs to leave this earth.....our criminal justice system has spoken..........next he will answer to the man upstairs.........my prayers are with the mcPhail family !!

    September 20, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. challenger 1016

    THE EVIDENCE IS THERE BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT THIS MAN TO LIVE BUT WHAT ABOUT THE VICTIM! NOBODY SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND HOW LONG THIS FAMILY HAS HAD TO ENDURE. THE BULLET CASING SHOW THIS MAN DID THE CRIME NOW HE MUST BE PUNISHED. MOST PEOPLE SAY THE MURDER SHOULD GET LIFE AND "THINK" ABOUT WHAT THEY DO....PLEASE! THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN, THE INMATE GETS 3 MEALS A DAY AIR CONDITIONING IN THE HOT SUMMER HEAT IN THE COLD WINTER BECAUSE IF THEY GET TOO HOT THEY FILE A GRIEVANCE OR TRY TO SUE. THEY COMPLAIN BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T GET HBO WITH THEIR CABLE AND ARGUE THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET DESSERT AFTER THEIR MEAL AND DEMAND ADVIL WHEN THEY HAVE A SLIGHT PAIN....THIS IS THE REAL PRISON HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXECUTED AND NOT WASTING TAX DOLLARS!

    September 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • AG

      You are a moron. People dont want a convicted murderer to live, but if by chance people made a MISTAKE, and there is not sufficient hard evidence, then it's worth another look. The worst thing would be to kill an innocent person for something he has been wrongly accused of doing. That would be why. And stop using caps, it's annoying to read.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kevin

    i have read all the evidence the Savannah Police have on Troy Davis.....the witness testimony was only part.....some of the idiots don't even know what they are arguing against........Troy davis shot a man earlier the same night....the ballistics from that shooting matched the shooting of mcPhail.....he had bloodied shorts the police found in his mother's dryer with blodd on them.....the prosecution didnt want that to be allowed in evidence.....WHY?????? i thought they wanted the truth.....LOL.....cause they jnew whose blood was on them...........He is a guilty coward cop killer........God have mercy on his soul........Godbless the McPhail family.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lee

    Something is bass-ackwards here. "Evidence of innocence". I thought our justice system was based on presumed innocence until "Evidence of guilt". Is it because he is black?

    September 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tensor

      Davis was presumed innocent until he was proved guilty and convicted by 12 jurors, the majority of whom were black. If this was a white guy on death row, no one would notice or care.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
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