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. tim

    To cruelhonesty cant wait for your day to come, with no proof and we execute you, guess you'll walk down death row with a smile. When did proving beyond any doubt get lost in our society. Its getting really bad, they can now sentence you to death only with a thought that you did something wrong. What is the great harm in taking another look at the killing. Oh look casey anthony was proved innocent and now they want her to pay the court fees no the state attorney should have to pay those fees so they learn to stop trying to convict without any evidence and wasting peoples time and money. Shame on texas, georgia, and florida.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Guest

    You people read an article and just jump on the bandwagon because of the point of view the article took. Learn to think for yourselves. Do some research before you question this decision. Seriously I can't get over how many people can't think for themselves. No wonder the media has so much power in this country.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. pat tracey

    its not funny

    September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sauce

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that 90% of the people commenting on this article, including me, have no idea about how the trial for this man went and we also do not know about any other evidence that was presented. The article is supporting his innocence but does not provide any details about what evidence caused the jury to find him guilty. Obviously there is more to this story than we know about. Did he do it? I don't know. I don't think they just throw around the death penalty when there is a "ton of evidence" that seems to prove him innocent...

    September 20, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. Scamerica

    FACT is, that MANY innocent people have been put to death. This is beyond wrong. It is a stain and scourge on our supposed fair 'justice system', and a reflection of our 'wild west' injustice system. SHAME SHAME SHAME AMERICA!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  6. Anonymous

    burn in your sheets.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  7. ap106

    who are YOU to kill anyone?...last time I checked life and death were SUPPOSED to be ONLY in the hands of God...we condemn other nations for being uncivilized and for the treatment of their civilians YET fail to uphold the law in our on country...which clearly states there should be zero doubt before putting a man to death...however you are so caught up on the RACIAL aspect you failed to read the important statements in the article which CLEARLY show even the judge revealed doubt..."you guys kill so you get killed?" IGNORANT can you be?!...EVERY race kills so why are you trying to make this a black thing?...right is right...and wrong is or white...IF there is doubt...I will NOT stand behind the death penalty..even if it were YOU in the mugshot with a needle scheduled to go in YOUR arm tomorrow...think before you speak next time...seriously...because all thats coming out is pure HATRED

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • tim

      Maybe you should read the bible before you post a comment. God gave us the natural ability to create life and man created the tools to end it early. The bible states, "Thou shall not murder" not kill. It's a common misconception. God gave us the authority to kill someone if they break one of his commandments; He will then judge them accordingly. If we allowed the death penalty to be abolished, we'd have even more crowding in our prisons; which is obviously not a good thing. We only kill those that need killing. A jury of his peers convicted him based on the evidence they were presented, this is how the legal system works. The judge didn't convict him, the lawyers didn't convict him, his peers convicted him.

      September 20, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Ronit


      September 20, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      God doesn't exist, it's just a fairy tale your parents told you to keep you under control. Just like being good for Santa or going to bed early for the easter bunny.

      September 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      Last time I checked, Jesus was the last perfect person on this earth. His own mother admits his guilt. I will say this, I am sure jury's have gotten it wrong on rare occasions. But WE THE PEOPLE set up our judicial system. You can't make them all happy. Prisoners are worth more money and have more rights than the average free person. I have no sympathy. Cause for every one case a jury got wrong, the other 99.9% of the time they were right and made us safer. I like those odds.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dirk

      Sad thing this. There is no 100 percent certainty he is guilty but they decide to kill him anyway? Shame on the US justice system, shame on the US and shame on the people supporting his impending murder by US hands. The USA is no more civilised than the Taliban they are at war with. Hypocritical country. You reap what you sow and that time is very very near.

      September 20, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fizzay

      We didn't kill anyone to deserve the death penalty. I believe a life is worth a life, but I don't think this guy should get the Death Penalty, as the Death Penalty should only be used when the court decides without reasonable doubt. Also, please don't force the bible's teachings into our law system, because not everything in the bible can be deemed as correct.

      September 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • KMS

      What concerns me is how incensed you are. Have you stopped to read the case file? Were you aware that pertinent DNA evidence was not allowed to be presented at the trial due to a technicality of the law? Shorts containing blood (presumably the victim's), along with a report from the GBI was not allowed because the police didn't have a warrant for the shorts. They only had a warrant to search for a murder weapon. Tell me, if your child was shot in the heart and face and the defense for the alleged killer were able to keep PERTINENT information/evidence out of court due to a stupid technicality, would you not be incensed? This case is not racist at all. This man, black or white, killed TWO people. Not just one! Ballistics proved the gun matched. Evidence was withheld. What else do you need? And also, do you realize that the jury that convicted him was mostly minority? Are you aware that the majority of convicted inmates on death row in Georgia are white males? The only female is also white? I don't personally care whether he's executed or not. What I do care about is why so many people are only reading just a tidbit from a one page news article and screaming on this board as if they are experts. Do some research and also, put yourself in BOTH victims family's shoes!

      September 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John

    Georgia needs to fly their flags at half mast after they murder this man.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Angered Georgian

      AMen . . . this ruling stinks! I am embarassed to live in the state of GA

      September 20, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Tonza


      September 20, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Ross

      I will in honor of a SLAIN officer at Troy Davis hands!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • John-ur-a-tool

      Dude was found guilty by a jury of his peers. Just as Casey Anthony was acquitted. Get over it. There was plenty of evidence that was deemed inadmissable such as his blood stained clothes (the officer's blood) at his mama's house. Dude shot two people and assaulted another. He deserves what he is getting.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jenniffer

      When that substance on the clothing was tested it couldn't even be determined that it was blood. Let alone the blood of Officer McPhail.

      Don't spread lies and misinformation when you don't know the case. Its wrong.

      September 20, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. david boone

    After reading this post, I would urge everyone that reads this forum to contact the Georgia state board of pardons and paroles, and to plead with them to further look into this case. The law requires that this man be considered innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If it is true that 7 of 9 witness have recanted or contradicted their testimonies SINCE the conviction, there is reasonable doubt to this man's guilt. You have to ask, if those 7 witnesses had contradicted or recanted during the trial, would this man have been found guilty by the jury? On behalf of justice, go to this site, and make your voice heard NOW:

    September 20, 2011 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. tron

    It is good to know that if you kill some one in the state of Georgia you have a chance of dying too. FRY HIM ALLREADY!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Pepou27

      And what do you know about this case ? You are just a monster.

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

      Yeah I wish you could take his place troll.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Lana

      this shows how much you know and how ignorant you are to the case at hand

      September 20, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Angered Georgian

      You are a complete idiot! This is a human being that MAY be innoncent you are talking about. It just goes to show that people out there really have no compassion for HUMAN life!

      September 20, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • boocat9

      Take your bloodlust and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. You're probably one of those idiots that cheered Gov. Perry in Texas when all of the executions in Texas was a topic in the presidential debate.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Crys

    Those of us who have been seeking to have Mr. Davis' execution stopped are not seeking to have him freed. Well, at least most of us aren't. It has been my belief that he should have received life in prison for his other acts. The idea that a person who is innocent of one crime could be killed for that crime is not justice. If there is reasonable doubt, the man shouldn't be put to death. Most of the witnesses have since recanted their stories, so the case isn't nearly as strong. There are very limited cases that I'm for the death penalty, and this isn't one of them.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  12. jim beam

    if the victim wasnt a cop he would of been spared!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • sparky91

      That's right, usually killing an officer of the law or federal official does automatically carry the death penalty. These officers go to work every day and have to deal with the lowest of the low in this country, the least we can do is make the penalty for killing one death.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  13. Question

    Just for clarification who is "you guys"?

    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  14. sparky91

    Hopefully Law enforcement is anticipating riots....should not be a surprise given the exposure of this case.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    Very sad and it is a testament that Georgia is still in the 60' with their justice system...backwards. They have not changed since I lived there 7 years ago. If there is doubt then it's doubt.

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