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. Robert

    Could the President pardon him and just give life in prison? Any one know?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Granniesbirdy

      The Gov of Georgia could pardon him and give him life.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. VinoBianco

    Like slavery, one day when we realize how primitive and barbaric capital punishment is and finally do away with it, we will look back in shame and think "how could our ancestors have supported such a practice." The justice system has already been discredited – there are those who have been executed who we later found out were innocent, and those who we will never know were innocent. We are the only civilized country to still execute people. Capital punishment has been proven not to deter crime, it's way more expensive than keeping someone in prison for life – so what's the point? Our sick sence of justice? Just because some people deserve to die, doesn't mean we have the right to carry it out as a state – especially with such a flawed system. Wake up.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Amy

    Ignorance. Enough said.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • abidingdude

      No. Not enough said. Please elaborate. Ignorance on whose part? The folks that have read a couple of news articles and now thing they're experts on every facet of this case, or the bloodthirsty folks who think he should've been put in a meat grinder 20 years ago?

      September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  4. downwithneonazies

    boycot all things georgia!
    wait, there's having out of georgia that is worth buying...
    never mind.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • maggiemae

      Proof read before you make a stupid statement and show your ignorance.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. waves

    When you hear what the witness said and what the jurors have said now, this just goes to show that our justice system is more about vengeance and less about justice. It doesn't matter who we convict, as long as we convict someone. I am not saying that he is innocent or guilty, but there sure seems to be a lot of doubt that he is guilty. And what also sucks (to a lesser degree) is the actual perpetrator of the act is still at large.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ashamed

      typical southern red neck legal lynching.I'm ashamed to say this but I was born there, and left just a s soon as I could, and never went back,some of my family still lives there. and yes them included the whole state revolves around total ignorance and bigotry.guilt or not they satisfy there hungry to destroy something,

      September 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Paul

    There really is no doubt about his guilt. Troy Davis IS a murderer; end of story! These protests are just another example of left wingers trying to portray the perp as if he's the victim. I won't shed a tear for this man when he's executed. Those who are leading the protests in favor of clemency for Troy Davis should be charged for inciting a riot, and any of the people who testified at the original trial who are now recanting should be have sworn statements taken now and then immediately arrested and prosecuted for purgery.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • BillDog

      Great post!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      You are an idiot and I do hope you have no influence on any children for the rest of your pathetic life.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Reaper

      Were you there on the jury? WOW! What a numb skull! Oh, and when you are spouting, you could at least run a spell check. That word would be "perjury."

      September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Paul, Have you even known the government to ever be wrong? Ever? That's what i thought. It would be pretty funny if you were ever arrested - because the government is never wrong, then you would automatically be guilty.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeffq

      You're an idiot

      September 20, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Huhhh?

      How do you figure that anyone who doesn't support the death penalty in this one particular case is a "left winger???"

      September 20, 2011 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
    • macdaddy

      Well, DUH, if you rposecute for perjury, then you have to throw out their previous testimony! You,sir are an 1d10t!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Kollerkrot

      America is the most backward country of the developed'll never get it.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. Andy

    Beyond reasonable doubt... if that does not exist he should be given clemency. But commuting a death sentence to life in prison is also a questionable call – if he were really innocent. Not a good time to be on the Clemency Board!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Typical

    Nice going Georgia. Once again you remind us why we applaud Gen Sherman. @gingersrule1. I would try to argue facts with you but like the rest, you can't comprehend.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. yannaes

    Move forward to what? Can you not see the mess this country is in already? Move forward to the end!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ric Flair


    September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. oldsoldierboy

    When compare this situation to that of Casey Anthony, you have your answers to who and what influences how justice works in the ole south. Money and race decides who gets justice and who doesn't down here.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fakechristians

    What would Jesus do, forgive him likely... but those who "claim" to be "Christians" want blood and death based on HATE.

    Hypocracy at it's best!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. adt

    Yet another sad day for the justice system in the good ole US of A. First we all allow a known baby killer to walk free among us and now we execute people who just might be innocent. Way to go Florida and Georgia.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. lynseypug

    Sad. It sounds like the witnesses may have lied on the stand. This man may indeed be innocent of the crime for which he is being executed. I wonder how many innocent folks have already been executed.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  15. downwithneonazies

    youtube should know better than letting the list of the board members published...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
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