Troy Davis put to death
September 21st, 2011
11:50 PM ET

Troy Davis put to death

Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Davis died at 11:08 p.m. ET, according to a prison official. The execution was about four hours later than initially scheduled, because prison officials waited for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Davis' request for a stay.

After 10 p.m. ET, the Supreme Court, in a brief order, rejected Davis' request. His supporters had sought to prevent the execution, saying seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Below are the developments as they happened. Read the full story here.

[Updated at 11:50 p.m.] Jon Lewis of WSB radio, one of the execution witnesses, gave this account of the minutes before Davis' death:

After the warden read the execution order and asked whether Davis had anything to say, Davis - strapped to a gurney - lifted his head up and looked at the witness area's first row, which was where MacPhail's relatives and friends sat.

“(Davis) made a statement in which he said ... 'Despite the situation you're in, (I) was not the one who did it.' He said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun. He said to the family that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother.

"He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. He asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working, to keep the faith. And then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said 'are going to take my life,' ... ‘May God have mercy on your souls,’ and his last words to them (were), 'May God bless your souls.'"

Another witness, reporter Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, also gave quotes from Davis. According to her, Davis said: "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have gun."

"And that’s when he told his friends to continue the fight and 'look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth,'" Cook said.

Davis also said, according to Cook: "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls."

Davis said to the MacPhail family, according to Cook: "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

Hours earlier, Davis declined what the prison offered him as a final meal, Cook said.

[Updated at 11:12 p.m.] Davis has been executed, a prison representative has said. The time of death was 11:08 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 10:55 p.m.] Davis' execution is expected to begin between 11:05 to 11:10 p.m. ET, the Georgia Department of Corrections says.

[Updated at 10:36 p.m.] People who'd been protesting for hours across the street from the prison where Davis will be executed are chanting, "We are Troy Davis," CNN's David Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 10:21 p.m.] The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Davis' motion for a stay of execution.

Word of the Supreme Court's decision comes more than three hours after Davis was scheduled to be executed, and more than four hours after Davis' attorneys had filed the motion.

With the ruling, Georgia is expected to proceed with Davis' execution.

[Updated at 10:07 p.m.] The daylong gathering across the street from the prison by Davis' supporters has turned into a candlelight vigil, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports. Hundreds still are waiting for a resolution. Some are praying, and some others are singing.

[Updated at 9:41 p.m.] The Rev. Raphael Warnock said he was standing with Davis' relatives on the grounds of the prison when they heard the execution wouldn't happen at the scheduled time.

"I was standing with the family at about 7 p.m. By that time, of course, naturally, we were expecting the worst," Warnock, a pastor to Davis' family, told CNN's Piers Morgan. "Suddenly we began to hear cheers from the crowd across the way, and the word came that the execution had been delayed.

"Certainly we're glad that Troy Davis is still alive, but we are still witnessing, in my estimation, a civil right violation and a human rights violation in the worst way unfold before our very eyes. This is Troy Davis’ fourth execution date. I’m glad that he’s alive, but that in and of itself is cruel and unusual punishment. America can do much better than this."

Asked if Davis had had what would have been offered as a last meal, Warnock indicated that Davis might have skipped it.

“I do know that on the last time he received an execution warrant, he refused his last meal," Warnock said. "I spoke earlier tonight with his nephew ... and he said his uncle would refuse his last meal again today. He has continued to insist that this is not his last meal. I must say to you that he evinces a faith that is just amazing, even to me as his pastor."

[Updated at 9:05 p.m.] The number of police officers standing outside the Georgia prison housing Davis has risen to more than 100, CNN's David Mattingly reported. The officers are watching protesters, who've been across the street for hours.

The crowd has been orderly, Mattingly said. While it had been chanting for much of the day, they're "probably as quiet as I’ve heard them all night," Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 8:55 p.m.] Dozens of people have gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in support of Davis, footage from CNN affiliate WJLA shows.

Still no ruling from the court on Davis' request for a stay of execution.

[Updated at 8:39 p.m.] This video report from CNN's David Mattingly, made about 40 minutes ago, shows the people who've been protesting across the street from the prison where Davis is being held, and the police officers in riot gear who are in front of the prison, watching the protesters.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:19 p.m.] The mother of the police officer that Davis was convicted of killing told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she is "absolutely devastated" that the execution has yet to happen.

“I’m absolutely devastated because I want it over with. ... They’ve been through the courts four times there in Georgia. They’ve been to the Supreme Court three times," Anneliese MacPhail said in an interview from her home, referring to previous delays. "This delay, again, is very upsetting and I think very unfair to us."

"I'd like to close this book," she said. "We feel (Davis is) guilty. The evidence and everything that we have seen - that I have seen , because I’ve been to all the trials - he is guilty, and I believe in that. And so does the rest of my family.”

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:10 p.m.] The time that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking to rule on Davis' motion for a stay of execution is unusual, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Usually, it’s handled pretty promptly," Toobin said.

Davis' lawyers filed the motion at about 6 p.m., an hour before Davis' scheduled execution. The state attorney general's office filed a response shortly afterward.

The two hours that the court has had the motion is "not a long time, but it's long enough for (the nine justices) to respond and say, 'Go ahead,'" Toobin said. "So it does suggest that they’re taking this seriously, and there may be some disagreement.”

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] After a brief moment of jubilation upon hearing that the execution hasn't yet happened, Davis' supporters - who have gathered outside the grounds of the prison where he is being held - are regrouping and talking about what might be next, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports. "Troy Davis can never die" is a common theme.

The state of Georgia isn't proceeding with the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Davis' request for a stay. Davis' attorneys filed the request about an hour before Davis' scheduled 7 p.m. execution.

Davis' supporters, who had been chanting, are now letting out cheers as drivers pass and honk their horns. Otherwise, the mood is tense as they wait for a development, Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m.] The state of Georgia hasn't yet proceeded with the execution of Troy Davis, because it is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on his request for a stay, CNN's Bill Mears reports.

Davis had been scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. ET. His attorneys filed a motion asking the Supreme Court for a stay about an hour before the scheduled execution time.

[Updated at 7:06 p.m.] Inside the grounds of the prison where Davis is scheduled to be executed, about 100 people, including Davis' sister, have formed a tight circle and are praying and singing, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.

[Updated at 6:32 p.m.] Davis' attorneys have filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for a stay of execution, the court has said. No decision yet.

[Updated at 6:28 p.m.] Earlier, this blog mentioned a protest outside the White House against Troy Davis' scheduled execution. Here is video of the protest:

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 6:20 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that according to the state Department of Corrections' schedule, Davis would have been offered a mild sedative, to calm his nerves, at 6 p.m.

[Updated at 5:58 p.m.] Davis' supporters outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is to be executed are growing louder, CNN's David Mattingly reports. Frequent chants include: "Death Row? Hell No!" and "Free Troy Davis."

[Updated at 5:54 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that Davis, who had been scheduled for execution three previous times, "has never been as close to dying as he is at this hour." A previous scheduled execution was called off more than two hours before it was to happen; this time, Davis is a little more than an hour from the scheduled time.

"He has already said goodbye to friends and family visiting today," Mattingly writes. "He's been served his last meal. Everyone is waiting to see if a last-minute appeal now working it's way up the legal system might somehow stop or delay Troy Davis' pending appointment with lethal injection."

[Updated at 5:41 p.m.] The Georgia Supreme Court says it has unanimously denied a stay of execution for Troy Davis.

The court also denied his request for another appeal to be heard.

His attorneys will now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution - Davis' last hope, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"The United States Supreme Court has a procedure in place. They know when executions are coming; they are expecting an application, so I expect this will be acted on fairly quickly. ... It’s unlikely that a stay will be granted, but that possibility exists, and that’s Troy Davis’ only hope," Toobin said.

[Updated at 4:33 p.m.] With one eye on the clock, celebrity supporters of Troy Davis are using their platforms to continue to spread the word about the Georgia inmate.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m.] A Butts County Superior Court judge has declined to halt the execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Davis’ attorney Brian Kammer tells CNN the appeal is now being brought before the Georgia Supreme Court.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Davis saw 25 visitors Wednesday during the six-hour window (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) he was allowed to receive them before his scheduled 7 p.m. execution, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The visitors included relatives, friends, clergy and an attorney.

[Updated at 3:06 p.m.] A look at Davis' schedule today at the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m., from CNN's John Murgatroyd:

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Visitation with family, friends, clergy and/or attorneys.

3 p.m.: Will undergo a physical.

4 p.m.: Last meal offered.

5 p.m.: Opportunity to record final statement.

6 p.m.: An optional sedative will be offered.

[Updated at 3:02 p.m.]  About 100 people have gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C., protesting Davis' scheduled execution in Georgia. The crowd consists mostly of students from Washington's Howard University, CNN's Lesa Jansen and Bob Kovach report.

One of the protesters, Howard graduate student Tamatha Scott, said in a CNN iReport video that the students marched from Howard to the White House, responding to student leaders' call to protest on Twitter.

“I started seeing the tweets about it late last night. It has been a very peaceful protest,” Scott said.

CNN's Lesa Jansen took this photo of the protest:

[Updated at 2:38 p.m.] An example of the high-profile support that Davis has received: Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, posted the following to his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon:

"The State should not be executing Troy Davis. . . if there is even a chance that he is innocent, why execute?"

Davis has gained international support. Public figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu and former U.S. 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. On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it "deeply regrets" the parole board's decision.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m.] Outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where Davis is to be executed at 7 p.m., many of the speakers have struck hopeful notes, and some say they hope to change the system for the future, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

Many are holding hand-lettered signs, with messages such as, "Spare Troy Davis." Some have produced signs showing Davis' picture and the message, "NAACP says too much doubt."

One of the signs carried outside the Jackson prison refers to the NAACP's stance.

[Updated at 1:34 p.m.] Dozens of people have already gathered at the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reported.

People gather Wednesday outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is among those at the site.

The group is praying and holding hands, Valdes reported.

[Updated at 1:28 a.m. ET]  The Georgia Department of Corrections told CNN it has denied a request by Troy Davis' lawyers to conduct a polygraph test.

[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET] The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to reconsider its decision denying clemency to Troy Davis.

Supporters of Davis have been hoping that some last-ditch efforts might help save him from being executed on Wednesday night. Earlier Wednesday, his team filed an appeal asking to stay his execution.

[Posted at 9:13 a.m. ET] Attorneys for Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia at 7 p.m. Wednesday, have filed a request to stay his execution in Butts County Superior Court.

Davis is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday night in Jackson, Georgia, for the 1989 shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail.

The parole board declined to grant Davis clemency Tuesday following a hearing Monday in which it heard testimony calling into question physical evidence and witness statements that a Chatham County jury relied on in convicting Davis in 1991. In Georgia, only the board - not the governor - has the right to grant clemency.

Since Davis' conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Davis' supporters say the original witnesses were fearful of police and spoke under duress.

Other witnesses also have since come forward with accounts that call Davis' conviction into question, according to his supporters.

soundoff (5,817 Responses)
  1. Mary

    We cannot suppose this is a level playing field. We are talking about Georgia and blacks. The witnesses were probably browbeaten at the time and are scared to come forward now. Racial hatred and fear run deep in Georgia.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nimitta

    I oppose the death penalty, but can't shake the impression that few seem to know anything about this case. Davis was found guilty for a good reason – there was no doubt at all that he committed both crimes. Almost everything I've read recently about this case is just spin from Davis advocates. F'example, this is not a case of racial injustice. There was strong physical evidence tying Davis to both crimes. Most of the so-called 'recantations' were transparently false or failed to refute original, damning testimony. Evaluate the facts of the case for yourself – you can start by checking out to read the trial record and appellate decisions. Spare Troy Davis, but please don't make him an icon of racism or injustice!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      I've reviewed the original case and the new information. While I have reasonable doubts either way, I have fewer doubts that Coles killed MacPhail than I have that Davis killed MacPhail.

      Speaking of people who know the case first-hand, several jurors have stated publicly that had they known then what they know now, Davis would not be on death row.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dis world

    dis world is crazy!! so what he killed a cop what about the COPS who killed sean bell, Amadu Diallo, and Denise gay!! what about them!!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      what do any of those cases have to do with this other than those people were black, I see you failed to mention Kelley Thomas who was beat to death by cops a few months ago, oh that's right he is not black so you do not care.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rod Dickerson

      How much money they have for lawyers deterimines the sentence of a killer. In the past, more than one Movie Star's Spouse has been mudered and no one spent any time in Prison.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense (not the rapper)

      This world... Not dis world...

      I'm guessing you just noticed the color of his skin and didn't read up on the story. This man also shot another man in the face just prior to shooting the police officer. I'm not sure I agree with the death penalty, but he is not innocent. Police officers that are killing innocent people should face the same penalties. Grouping all police officers as killers though is obviously bad logic. Please don't take everything your read or hear for face value.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • @tux

      What is really crazy is that people like you think THIS is spelled like DIS. Please stop making America look like idiots!

      September 21, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. USAFBonilla

    @stacibaby i agree with you we have become so self concided as a society we think we are gods, saying who lives and who dies, yes lock him up for life if evidence shows other wise, but never say you will die, because thats what us as us military veterans live with after combat deployements, the devastating thought that we played god.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      I guess this guy decides who gets shot in the face and pistol whipped

      September 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Combat USMC

      What was the extent of combat that you faced USAFBonilla? I see you were in the Air Force...

      September 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. steve

    Once innocence is proven then the process can be reversed

    September 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Dude

    The state should not have the right to execute its people.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobbb


      September 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dis world

      i agree

      September 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Rae

    He is going to be killed on international Day of Peace

    September 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bobbb


      September 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • That Guy

      Well come on, that at least makes it ironically humorous doesn't it?

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. barack

    Why has it taken 9 years to try and show his innocence? If he was not guilty, they should have presented the facts at the time. Over the course of time, people forget what they saw or did and start thinking of things the way they want to remember them, not the way they actually happen. I don't think the board has enough proof for a turnover of the ruling so they will go forward with the death. And guess what, next week not one person in the US, except he family and friends, will care. Face up to it.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJC

      he is guilty! they are trying to come up with some loop-hole to show "reasonable doubt" which is all you have to do in order to prove innocence. NEWS FLASH, they have not been able to do that, ie he is going to die in t-minus 11 hrs.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • @tux

      I couldn't agree more! Finally someone on this tread is thinking like a normal human being.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • TEE

      You are exactly right exactly. Troy Davis Who? Oh! FORGOTTEN!!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dwight Osborne

    No less an authority than the Holy Bible requires that a murderer be put to death. What higher standard is there than God's Holy Word?

    September 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sildenafil

      It also says to kill adulterers. Divorcees are considered adulterers according to the Bible, so lets kill them all. Guess that'll clear up our unemployment crisis. Oh, it also says that any disrespectful child should be put to death. Talk about a mass extinction event.

      Quit only quoting the parts of the Bible you think should be enforced. Either enforce the whole thing, or none of it.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Dude

    Execute him! It is the Christian thing to do.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JJC

    Why is everyone so up in arms over a 22 yr old case that has multiple victoms and witnesses. They WATCHED him do it.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • lise

      7 out of 9 of them also admitted that what they said wasn't true...

      September 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lyndon

    This is not about racism. IT is about injustice. If you read the case then you would know there are too many gaps in the prosecution case files. Jurors are stepping down and nothing is being done. So if he killed an officer which he didn't even know it was an officer because he was off duty, then you say we kill him to teach him a lesson about killing being bad! What good does that do? People contradict themselves daily and convince themselves they are always right. Well tonight a man guilty or mostly innocent dies! Then I guess you feel better tomorrow right? So this stops all killing in the world right? What about people dying because of our country? Ever think that maybe violence for violence is wrong? Nobody said you can't defend yourself but don't go looking for an excuse to kill someone! This is what keeps us from God! God does not condone the killing of anyone. Only he can judge a person!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Oh Yeah Ok

    Wow all of these people against this guy dying are pathetic. I mean honestly. Let's not forget that he still killed a different guy and beat another. I mean I guess that still isn't good enough for you people. All these people crying racism I guarantee are all black themselves and trying to stir up more crap. Get over it. Even if he did get found not guilty. HE WOULD STILL ROTT IN A CELL FOR LIFE!

    September 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joe Mama

    I don't understand why he's being executed if there's doubt in witness testimony and lack of physical evidence. This is awful.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gandalf

    I don't know what is wrong with you people. it must be obvious by now that the American judicial system can not make a mistake. It just can not happen. That is why a man like Troy Davis will be murdered tonight at 7:00 PM.
    Yes I said murdered. There are so many doubts in this case that it should have been retried many years ago. But they got their conviction and that is all that matters. No problem that an innocent man goes to the gallows. No problem that a cop killer is still running loose and has for 22 years. They got their conviction. Please don't ask them to humiliate themselves by saying they may be wrong. Unheard of.

    September 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
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