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. @Corvus1

    Sad that your mom kissed you goodnight right after giving me a bl0w j0b last night!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. ROTFLMFAO!

    Stupid n!gger!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • ROTFLMFAO!

      HEY TROLL! I would never write n!gger. P0rch m0nkey or sp3ar chuck3r maybe, but never n!gger!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. CorrineVA

    MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE FAMILY OF MR. TROY DAVIS. I DO NOT KNOW HIM BUT I AM FROM VIRIGINIA. I AM VERY, VERY, SAD AND DISAPPOINTED WITH THE DECISION OF THE PEROLE ABOARD. WITH THEM HAVING NO EVIDENCE, NO GUN, NO DNA, BUT ONLY GOING ON EYEWITNESS. I WONDER IF THE PAROLE BOARD EVERY CONSIDERED HEARING THE SEVEN WITNESS THAT RECANT THEIR STORY. THIS IS ONE REASON WHY I CHANGE MY MAJOR IN COLLEGE TO HUMAN SERVICES BECAUSE OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS NOT FAIR TO THE DEFENDANT TO GIVE THEM A FAIR TRAIL. IS THIS WHAT OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS ALL ABOUT? IF SO, I DO NOT WANT TO BE APART OF THAT SYSTEM AND I HOPE OTHER CRIMINAL JUSTICE MAJOR WILL AGREE WITH ME. I JUST WNT THE FAMILY TO KNOW THAT I AM CRYING FOR YOUR LOVE ONE. I KNOW THAT HE IS INNOCENT!"
    BY THE BLOOD OD JESUS" KIRK FRANKLIN SD "SMILE EVEN IF IT HRTS, I SMILE BECAUSE GOD IS WORKING' LTD

    September 21, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Sum Dum Fuk

      You're crying? Seriously? What a f@g!

      September 21, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Lesleyeve2

    Thank u

    September 21, 2011 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. Desmond O

    Why on Earth hasn't Troy Davis taken a polygraph test....I don't believe a innocent man would face his demise without exhausting one of the most logical options available. I'm not sure if he's guilty or innocent, but I do know that I wouldn't have sat in PRISON since 1991 waiting to be bagged without answering any question asked of me during a polygraph test.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Wes Ripley

      He did but the court blocked it.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Puonmyshu

    So what time does the party begin tonight?

    September 21, 2011 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. chillipepper

    com'on let him go, after all he only killed a cop, cops give you tickets. Also he was white, all white people are racists. Let him go free. Too many black men are dying. Should feel sorry for him. Besides it's cool to defend blacks who kill white cops. I don't think anybody would care if this killer was white and killed a cop. Liberals are so baby mind. He's getting what he gave. Sounds fair to me

    September 21, 2011 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Anon

    I am not from the USA but I happened across this and wish to comment. As to race there is good and bad in all things including races. Now as to this man who is to die for it being said he killed a cop. Seems to me that there is no actual proof that he did this crime other than witnesses. A word of a person cannot alway be taken as truth and sometimes peoples words are bended for many reasons. Thus not being able to completely prove that this man killed this cop by evidence, seems to me to be unfair that he is now on the word of others being put to death. At the end of the day every life is important to the person whos life it is and if one person can save a life by a few words then i hope my words help. I feel that seeing there was witnesses to this and some of these witnesses have taken back their statements proves that there is some misjustice/doubt here and the death penatly should not carried out. But this man to be held until evidence comes hopefully to his favour to prove his innocence.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. Suzanne

    What we see time and time again is the puerile hatred of pro death penalty supporters who bay for blood. They bring up ridiculous arguments and reveal their deep rooted ignorance at each step. For the information of one blogger above, I think we would care if Troy were white - in fact, I know we would. I'd not want a want a white man to die unjustly either. What I understand is that the 'fry em' crowd, ignorant and vicious, has a seat at the heart of many states' courts of justice. A civilized country knows not to heed to those baying for blood who often call themselves Christians when Christ was a man of compassion and forgiveness. Think before you speak indeed.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. e77is

    A question to those supporting the execution of Troy Davis:
    I understand someone else has confessed to the murder of the cop? How do you feel about the possibility of letting the true murderer of the cop go unpunished?

    September 21, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • D

      Agreed e77, and not just that. What if they executed the innocent, and later found him to be so. How would his family and friends feel, knowing that he is gone permanently over something like this? I think Troy should not be sentenced to death, especially since there was reported to be no evidence.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  11. rece

    there is nothing right about what this justice system is doing because of "physical evidence" or lack thereof. only a fool would support the killing of an innocent man.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dee

    Lord have mercy!!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Andreas Moser

    I wonder if there is any justification for punishment at all: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/punishment-reason-constraint/

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  14. hannah

    omg, why are they giving a death sentence to some on who has not murdered anyone, they have found no evidence that shows he is the murderer, no weapon. and 7 out of 10 people stood up in court and said we lied that this person was the murderer, and they all mentioned some one else name. this is not justice, this is totally not fair that he is being punished for some thing he never did, why is been accused of something he didnt do

    September 21, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anisa

    this is not fair, he should be punished for some thing that he didnt do, and i feel very upset to hear that the real culprit that has murdered the cop is free and unpunished

    September 21, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
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