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. romw2894

    Nothing like a death sentence to bring out the tree hugging bleeding heart liberals screaming their heads off about injustice. None of them have a clue what the evidence in the case was. None of them care a whit about the victim or his family.....only defend the killer and say there is POSSIBLY a chance he did not do it......also called a fantasy.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rDS

    WOW !! If the Indigo Girls want him to get that's something !!

    What the heck is an Indigo Girl ?? Can someone please tell me why I should care about something called an "Indigo Girls" ??!!

    September 20, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • AG

      The Indigo Girls are a band you freaking idiot.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |

    I aint tryin to pull no race cards or none such thing but ifin hes a white boy hes gotta be inocent. Ifin hes a black boy im fur thinkin he musta dun kilt sum buddy.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |

    BAM! Reality hits you hard bro!

    September 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. edward c. stengel

    Mr. Davis is being sacrificed because a police officer was killed, even though he was off-duty and acting as a private security guard. That's the way it is when a police officer is killed. Society demands that someone be convicted and executed for the morale of the police force, even if it's the wrong man. The police need that "support" to convince the public that if a cop gets killed, someone is going to pay for it. The same fate awaits other "probably innocent" men in other parts of the country. These men are really political prisoners, like Mumia Abu Jamal., being framed for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer, and Leoanrd Peltier, American Indian activist, being framed for the murder of 2 FBI agents in the Pine Ridge Indian reservation shootout in Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      You are a fool, this POS not only killed a police officer, he shot another man in the face, & pistol whipped yet another. YES, he IS guilty, & already has lived much longer than he should have. Good Riddance!!

      September 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Edward Stengel's comments are absurd to the point a police hating liberal wouldn't even believe! Hey Edward, go back the sewer you came from and stop trying to infect the world without stupidness!

      September 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Agreed it should never be about who was killed but rather that murder was committed. just because a police man is shot in the line of duty does not mean that person is a hero. they took the job knowing the risk. if they are in fact heros then why arent pizza delivery men heros when they are shot. a hero is someone who puts there life on the line beyond duty with no care of a reward or honor. they simply wish to save others with little regard for their own well being. a police man being shot is not a hero, just someone doing their job. there are some police who do go beyond the call of duty and deserve to be called heros but again a person being shot while doing the job they are paid to do is not a hero.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      if there is any chance this man is innocent it should be exhausted till there is no doubt for anyone he is guilty. if there is the smallest chance that he may be there should not even be the thought of the death penalty

      September 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • mnguest

      he should NOT be executed

      September 20, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • pauline

      While I agree with your assumption regarding the police and their need to find a guilty party, I am left doubting Mr. Davis for one reason: if he is truly innocent, why would he block the submission of DNA evidence recovered from a pair of shorts found in the laundry at his mother's house – regardless of whether they were recovered legally or not? It seems to me that if someone is innocent, they would want EVERYTHING to be examined and considered to disprove the prosecution's case.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      Only stupidity I see is yours, Greg. There was no physical evidence linking Davis to either crime. If you had any clue what you were talking about, you'd know that when you fire a weapon, there will be powder marks on your hands. Guess what, moron. There weren't any. Nor was there any DNA linking him to either crime. And any investigator with even a trace of common sense knnows that "eyewitness" identification is the weakest evidence you could ever have, and 7 of the 9 have recanted saying the police coerced their testimony.

      Now, go back into your trailer, open another Schlitz, beat your wife and pass out, because that's about the level of intelligence you portray here.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      The groups most opposed to Davis' execution are groups who are opposed to capital punishment – period! In their protest, they claim a lack of due process, faulty evidence, recanted testimony, etc. What they ignore is that much of the meat of their argument has absolutely NOTHING to do with fairness or unfairness – just a desperate attempt to prevent the execution of a convicted criminal. Here's one for you. When Davis' attorneys had an opportunity to present an appeal, they brought recanting witnesses who claimed another guy had confessed to the crime. This appeal had been scheduled for MONTHS, but the guy who apparently was the REAL killer wasn't in attendance. When asked why, the defense attorneys claimed that their attempts the DAY BEFORE the appeal hearing to subpoena the guy were unsuccessful. THE DAY BEFORE??? When the appeal hearing was scheduled for MONTHS?? So, they wanted the recanting witnesses to be able to present hearsay testimony but not have the other guy there to rebut their testimony....SMOKE AND MIRRORS people...and the judge at the appeal saw right through it! This guy is GUILTY! There were SEVEN blacks on his trial jury and FIVE whites...and STILL the defense wants to say the make-up of the jury was not fair...

      September 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Good Stuff

    Not only should he be executed, but they should televise his execution and put it up for live streaming on any device. Let a few million people see what happens to you when you're lying on your death bed knowing that you only have minutes to live and witness the life slowly subsiding in a person. You can bet your that'll make many potential killers think twice before committing any murders. People these days are way too soft on criminals and everyone lives in a pretend fantasy where once you remove the criminal from the street, everything is okay and safe. I wish it were still like back in the ol' west where they had public hangings.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AG

      You are a moron.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      I think that would teach people to disrespect the law - because it is so arbitrarily enforced. The rich guy that just killed his Asian girlfriend in that mansion won't see the electric chair. He's too rich. They are declaring it a "suicide".

      September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • gabby

      AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! preach on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      With opnions like these, no wonder we have culture of death in this country.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve


      YOU are the moron! Good Stuff has it spot on, this guy IS a killer, also a attempted murderer, & a POS! He can't get the needle fast enough for me, as he should have been relieve of taxpayer funds years ago!

      September 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Increase Powers

      Imposition of the death penalty doesn't send a message that life is valuable; it glorifies violence and sends the implicit message that violence is a solution for problems. I can only hope that one day the American South will join the civilized world in ending this atrocity.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Hey Liz,

      Since I can see that you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the "suicide case", let me TEACH you a few facts: 1st, the "rich guy", was in Scottsdale,AZ when his son was hurt badly during a fall down the stairs while being watched by his girlfriend. 2nd, he was AT THE HOSPITAL, in a chair BESIDE his son, when she died. 3rd, 2 days LATER, his son died. So, do you still think HE did it?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      To INCREASE POWERS – You wrote: "Imposition of the death penalty doesn't send a message that life is valuable; it glorifies violence and sends the implicit message that violence is a solution for problems. I can only hope that one day the American South will join the civilized world in ending this atrocity." Capital punishment is a message FROM society to ALL that when you have such a blatant disregard for the life of another human being, you have forfeited YOUR right to remain in our society. And the means by which a society expels one of its members whose membership has been revoked is via the death penalty. I am a Christian and will ALWAYS believe in what Christ teaches. I respect life and believe innocents should be protected by society. I do NOT believe that a man who murders another man has the same right to retain his own life as the rest of us.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaoBinHitler

      Yeah that woukd TOTALLY work man. thanks for you brilliance. I am truly enlightenned.
      I cant believe I never thought of that before. Because televising an execution would totally end murder forever.
      I mean, sure, we all know theres a death penalty and since all murder has ended since we reinstated the death penalty televising wouldnt only taumatize most americans, but make them sick, but it'd definately ensure that they never commit murder. Seriously, just just look at how the murder rate has *plummeted* since we re-intorduced capital punishment– which is why TO THIS DAY NO ONE EVER COMMITS MURDER EVER all thanks to the death penalty. It works just fine! now lets go find a retard to execute after he has a happy meal for his last meal. Its not society's fault we elected people to kill the retarded. oh, wait, it is. shoot. there goes my thesis. dang yall

      September 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Liz

    Troy Davis should get death, when Erik and Lyle Menendez didn't ???

    September 20, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      The white guy in Texas got a stay – and there's actual physical evidence that he was the killer. The black guy that has no real physical evidence against him is left to fry. This country sucks.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seamus

      Troy has gotten stays before. Not racist.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve


      You have a point there, but yes, he deserves to die, as did the Medendez brothers. The difference? Well, Davis killed a cop, that is AUTOMATIC death penalty in MOST states, & the bro's were in CA, where even if they DID get the death penalty, it would NEVER be carried out. Also, they used a "abuse" defense, which is a "big deal" in CA.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      To Diana – Troy Davis has had SEVERAL stays. He killed the cop about TWENTY YEARS ago. Read more about the facts before you spout off a bunch of tripe.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. WELDS

    Tomorrow, the shooter will meet another shooter. to put it another way, the Liar will meet the Fryer. The shooter will have a chance to complain, and the other whooter will gain access to his vein..........light out

    September 20, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gabby

    Look don't do the crime and you won't do the time.....Davis should not have been somewhere he should not have been, and should not have been doing what he was doing and not to mention he had just pistol whipped a man and committed several other crimes before he got braver and bolder by taking the life of another human. Maybe what we need to do it have sentences like they do in Saudi, Iran, Turkey, eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth: you steal one hand is cut off, you take a life then your life is taken, you steal again your other hand is taken, you throw acid on someone then you have acid dumped on a Georgia residence I am sick and tired of having to pay for these thugs, I DO NOT CARE ONE SMIDGEN WHATSOEVER ABOUT RACE, RELIGION OR ANYTHING ELSE WHEN I SAY THAT, to enjoy cable, just sit around and lay in bed all day and pay for their laundry to be done, to feed them, and everything else. Make them pay for their own stuff or their families and not the tax payers, and if they don't pay then they don't eat, have clothes, etc, just like the rest of us and see how much freakin money the state of Georgia would have then, talk about your surplus of money.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      You are so judgemental. Or, just maybe, we can whistle clearly into one of your ears and the air will come out of the other one.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Liz

      eye for eye will never happen if a rich person commits the crime in America. Jail is for poor people. the way you like it.

      September 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Hey Liz – Jail is for poor people???? John Gotti, Martha Stewart, OJ Simpson, Leona Helmsley, Bernie Madoff, betty Broderick, Jean Harris, etc. etc. None of these people was poverty stricken. Maybe it's not so much how rich they are, but how LITTLE quality a poor person can afford. Don't blame the rich guy, blame the system. But as for Davis. He was convicted two decades go – he has had MANY chances to try to break his conviction with some reasonable doubt as to his guilt He has failed. He was not wrongfully convicted.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. alexx

    The norfolk four case is also a gross example of the judicial systems failure for a justice, and only adherence for an end result. The justice system or systems are too complex for the average individul to understand including the rival casual factors of convictions. That is why the ignorant statement by the victims mother is the most outrageous statement in this story. Wrong place at wrong time certainly happens along with criminals gettin off based on legality.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RWRistheAC

    Does the Georgia governor have the character to step to the plate and do the right thing? If not, watch yourself in Georgia...especially if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      He is doing the right thing by not interfering with the branch of government of which he is not a part. The jury of his peers found him guilty... The governor shan't not dismiss that.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tanker Ray

    Seven out of nine witnesses have recanted and the evidence is minimal at best, yet all these hicks still want him dead. Gee...I wonder why.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Of the witnesses who recanted, the appellate judge found only two partially trustworthy and one completely trustworthy. Five other witnesses did NOT recant, and even those who DID! What was the nature of their testimony? Was it eyewitness testimony that put the gun in his hand pulling the trigger and killing the cop? If I recanted that I simply did not see Davis somewhere, does it mean he wasn't there, when three others say he was??? learn what they are recanting about before you assume that 7 eyewitnesses to the murder have recanted, because I am 100% sure you will find that is not the case.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. veeroy

    you a racist and a sick individual...

    September 20, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • heime

      Yes, Troy Davis was a racist for gleefully murdering the white cop. He should have also been convicted of a hate crime before his belated execution. He is a sociopathic POS and should have been beaten to death with a baseball bat.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rob

    There is no need to further encourage the pro-death penalty morons on this board.

    September 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeron

      Be careful what u say i will curse you for the rest of your life

      September 20, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D

    There is so much hate here.

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