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
Post by: ,
Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (2,336 Responses)
  1. arch

    Our whole system is so screwed up. If a person kills a cop it is almost automatic they get death. If they kill a kid or mother, etc.., they get life with parole and can be out in 7 yrs.! Something is totally wrong. I am for death in certain cases, but I feel the evidence against the person really needs to be solid. From what I read about this guy, the evidence isn't that good and a bunch of people have changed their stories over time. I don't understand why the board didn't put this on hold till all of this was figured out. It's like; what's the hurry! I'm sure they will go to the Supreme Court some time soon. Let's see if they are in a hurry.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. satanbug

    some sick folks here...really scary rabid people...amazing how this topic stirs people up...I guess what can you expect in a country wherein imaginary beings we trust?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Archibald Fox

      and Satan is real, huh?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Archibald Fox

    Everyone seems to be missing the point here. This guy was convicted in a court of law. I would imagine there were black jurors who voted to convict him, too. Plus which, he has a violent background. He had assaulted several people immediately prior to allegedly killing the cop. This guy deserves to die. Nothing whatsoever to do with race. If he were white, he would also deserve to die. We cannot tolerate this behavior in a sane society. Snuff him and let's all move on.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Is georgia turning into fla

    What is going on here? What happened to justice? If their is no evidence linking to him that he did it, if the dna proves he didn't do that, if the witnesess say he is clear and the case proves he didn't do it. What is driving you buttholes totake this persons life? What are you people so angry about? Is it because you can't find the real killer and you have to have a patsy in order to close this case andput it to rest; so you have to find a subject and make it look like he did it? Is it a color and racial issue. We know about the good ole boys and the rednecks who hate other cultures.

    How do you people sleep at night knowing that someone innocent is going to die and he doesn't have to. I know nothing about what happened. I wasn't there. But have you searched your hearts and believe you have peace about what your doing. God says vengenace is mine saith the lord. I thought Ga is full of god loving christians who believe in honesty and faithfulness. Where is your christian virtue?

    I hope he comes back and haunts every single solitary person and there family members until you face god and his judgement for taking this persons life out of anger and hate. How do you sleep at night and look at your family members every day? There is a thing that spirits can't rest in peace and they haunt the people that caused their unrest.

    You know what you reap you sow and also it goes down to your children as well. Look at it biblicially!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Archibald Fox

      Why do you claim he is innocent? Do you know something the jurors didn't? If so, why don't you come forward instead of lurking on blogs? You are a moron who just enjoys spouting off about something he knows nothing of.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DaveinCincy

    On the evening of August 18, 1989, Davis briefly attended a pool party hosted by a friend. As he left with his friend Darrell Collins, the occupants of a passing car yelled obscenities at them. Michael Cooper, a passenger in the other car, was shot in the face, allegedly by Davis. Davis and Collins continued on, and later met Sylvester "Redd" Coles, who was arguing with a homeless man, Larry Young, over a beer.Off-duty policeman Mark MacPhail was working as a security guard at a Burger King restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.

    MacPhail, age 27, the son of a U.S. Army colonel, was married with a 2-year old daughter and an infant son. He had joined the Savannah Police Department in 1986 following six years of military service as an army ranger. MacPhail had worked for three years as a regular patrol officer and in the summer of 1989 had applied to train as a mounted policeman.[9] At about 1:15 am, seeking to help Young who was being attacked in a nearby parking lot, MacPhail was killed. He had been shot twice, once through the heart and once in the face, without drawing his gun.

    Davis also had a concealed carry charge for carrying a gun with altered serial numbers just a few months earlier. His nick name was "RAH"Rough as He&&". I save my weeping for the police man with 2 young children who was truly innocent.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Cooper said that he only saw a person in a white shirt and blue shorts shoot him. He said in court that he did not know Davis enough for him to shoot him. Collins IN COURT on cross examination recanted his statement and said he never saw Davis shoot Cooper nor did he see Davis with a gun. Cooper says that he was threatened by police with jail time for aiding in the crime.
      Sylvester 'Red' Coles was the first person to implicate Davis the next day. Police released a warrant and then began interviewing people after his photo was released. 7 of 9 Witnesses that later recanted their statement said they were threatened by police to implicate Davis. Other witnesses have since come forward to implicate Red in the crime, saying he confessed, they saw him, or they asked someone to hid the gun used. Red is 1 of 2 people not recanted their statement. His gun matches the caliber used in the shooting, but was never collected as forensic evidence. As you said Red admitted arguing with the homeless man and witnesses say he hit him (Red denies). The officer came running at this point as was shot dead.

      Now who do really think is the killer?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • steve

      I do believe to Supreme Court will grant another stay in this case. They had done it before but had not commented. I believe they feel he was falsely convicted, but wished not to over rule GA in the case hoping they would see their error. Their last stay was 2hr before the scheduled execution, so hear is hoping that the courts still work.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • DaveinCincy

      @Steve- Conceaed carry just months earlier with shaved serial numbers. 2 Shootings where he's fingered....but some how you're labeling him as "Innocent". This guy is far from innocent. In fact...I'd be inclined to say this wasn't his first time shooting someone with a gun. It's amazing to me, that people are so quick to protect the perpertrators, and care so little about the family or the victim. After 23 years...I would probably have some variation in my story too...time tends to do that to folks.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becca

      Well In Texas they got another stay for That Cleve Davis so why not this man? If he is guilty in the end he will pay but if not he has the right to show more proof he did not kill this police officer. If this guy is guilty then I agree with the dealth sentence but if not give him a chance if he has new evidence and if not then no chance. And Race does not fit in here at all it does not matter who you are or what color you are if you do wrong them you must pay the price but if not then prove it and do not yell RACE!!!!

      September 20, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom J

    For all those who think There is enough reasonable doubt that Davis may be innocent–I suggest you read Judge Moore's 173 page opinion on all of the evidence, including the supposed recantations in this case. after reading that examination of all the pretrial, trial and post trial testimony–any reasonable person can only conclude that Davis is guilty as charged. That is what all the appeals and clemency board saw–and that is why ever appeal has been denied. I have no problem with anti death penalty folks saying Davis should not be executed because they are morally opposed to the death penalty–but don't twist facts or tell half truths (which in my opinion the defense attorneys attempted to do) to falsely convoke others that a guilty man is innocent

    September 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lolo

    The Holy Spirit told me to post a comment that this man is innocent. Gods will be done, amen.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • S1N

      That was not the Holy Spirit, that is called "delusions of grandeur". Even if such a Holy Spirit were to exist, you are far too insignificant for it to think your post would have any effect whatsoever on the community here. Have a nice day. Please schedule a psych eval soon. God told me to tell you that.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moo

      Bearing false witness is probably one of the most heinous crimes to God.

      September 20, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Love513

    It's a double standard when it comes to cops and civilians. If a civilian kills a cop they get the death penalty. However if a cop shoots and kills a civillian then they get aquitted. There has been several times where they cops have killed unarmed people and have gotten off. If he gets executed this will be a mistake because we are not sure he is guilty 7 of the 9 witness have changed or recanted their stories since that day. They might be sending an innocent man to the chair over some faulty witness statements. This is what's wrong with they system today everyones got tunnel vision and its with that we quickly jump the gun and bringing false justice down on someone just to satisfy victim's families. I all about bringing killers to justice but only if it's the right person and the evidence as backs that accusation.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Random Mitchell

    The Easter Bunny says you re totally nuts!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • @Random Mitchell

      The Tooth Fairy says your mom sucks c0cks in hell!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Name*justucz

    Sad when people are more concerned about criminals than victims

    September 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • genp

      Revenge can blind people

      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      I am in no way more concerned about the criminal than the victim, but if there is a chance they have the wrong person for this crime, two wrongs do not make a right. You do not just kill anyone as a scapegoat to make amends to the victim. I would think any victim would want the right person to pay for the crime. If there is a question, leave them in there for life, don't kill them

      September 20, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Corvus1

      Sad when people are so hell-bent on "justice" that they're willing to kill an innocent man.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jeron

    Repent for the time is now JESUS CHRIST is on his way back will you be ready are will you burn in the lake of fire this world is mess up this world for got about JESUS CHRIST CHRIST made this world not man hate is a sin killing is a sin etc get your house in order(HEART) and serve the LORD CHRIST or burn

    September 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Holy Roller

      I believe in God. Is this how I'm going to be rewarded, an eternity with jack@sses like this?

      September 21, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. GMR

    Money talks. If Troy Davis is executed, We should boycott EVERYTHING that comes out of Georgia. Coca-Cola, Air Tran, Home Depot, Rubbermaid, Aflac, Suntrust Bank, ETC. Starting now.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Random Mitchell

      So you're going to punish Coca Cola for something their state government did. Maybe we should boycott YOUR business the next time YOUR state executes someone.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Felicia King

    He may or may not be directly guilty of killing the police officer, but what about the other two men? Just because they didn't serve in the military as Army Rangers thus finishing their military career to try a career as a police officer should not lessen the value of their life. It takes a stronger man to just walk away when someone confronts you with bad names or words. Didn't Jesus say when someone strikes one cheek, you turn the other cheek? Didn't Martin Luther King Jr. teach peaceful tolerance? Maybe he is innocent in the death of the police officer, but even though he may not have pulled the trigger, he may still have been an accessory to the murder. It sounds like it was not premeditated. But murder is murder. Anger is anger. You let anger win, you let the devil win. I am pretty sure he knows his crimes, and that he is not innocent. Everyone is a sinner, but not everyone goes as far as murder. Don't forget about the other two victims.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. welds

    Tomorrow another crimal will have no protection,
    justice will be served thru letha injection,
    too bad it's not by electric,
    or we could smoke his a$$

    September 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Pam

    I am not against the death penalty but in this case I do wish there was more physical evidence adn that 7 of 9 witnesses had not recanted. I do not think he should go free. I wish his sentence would be converted to life w/o parole. If his supporters could gather more substantial evidence then they could appeal for a new trial. There have been one too many cases where an innocent person was executed. I hope someday Officer MacPhails mother/family can find forgiveness. Those feelings of vengence can tear a person up inside.

    September 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75