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.

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[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.”

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[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:

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[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. jman

    Elijah West big cry baby

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. waitandthink

    I fully support the death sentence, in fact there are many people in prison who should have already been executed. However, this case is not one of them. I only support the death sentence when there is NO doubt as to the crime. This means that there must be a body, a weapon, physical evidence in which there is no question of tampering or mistakes, and every witness (there must be at least 2) never recants his/her story. This case only meets one criteria: a body. The victim should have justice, but not at the cost of a justice system.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Patrick

    if you don't like what your courts say replace them and change the way the work because they dont care about anyone but them selves

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Audrey Hansen

      It's so easy to say to change and replace the juries and the judges but don't work that way. We are nobody. We are no powerfull voice. Unfortunatelly, If was so easy to replace them they would be repalced many, many years ago. The unfair system keeps going on for years and years and never was repalced because people in america is so afraid to go to streets and protest and we could change a lot if the people get together and do something. But no one wants to get involved. so sad his life is over already.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Eye4anEye

    The cop he killed wasn't given a second chance.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. NoJusticeNoPeace

    Im not saying that he's not guilty, and honestly none of you people who are being extremely rude and heartless know if he is guilty, but its not like its either the death penalty or freedom. He still would have been in jail for life. Whats the harm in looking over some new information that could potentially save a MANS LIFE??? Im not saying release him from jail. Just look over some new facts or atleast take a way his death sentence and leave him in jail. You people who are talking about killing are the very people that keeps this country from progression. I pray for your peace of mind as well as the folks that made this decision. Its so sad.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      How many times?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fanspeed

    curious all these people against the death penalty, why wern't you saying anything about the guy in Texas that was executed tonight also. are you against the death penalty for all ?or for where it is politically correct. something to think about.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fed Up

      I don't agree with the death penalty at all. In the case of the Texas Execution, there was no doubt that the man was guilty. Personally, I feel life in prison is enough.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      He said he was innocent. There were 3 guys involved. How do you know that he pulled the trigger?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Martha

    God bless America! God forgive those, who are going to kill a human being! God may help, that they and their families will never fall into any doubt.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jeremy

    You guys are animals. Absolute animals.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sowhat

    americans are idiots you guys use to be the number 1 country thats has dropped now ur jus the number ! hated country!!!! racists uneducated pigs all americans are such idiots especially the next generation i feel bad for you

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • not everyone

      not all americans are uneducated and racists. thats a generalization and just as unfair as whats happening today

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Eye4anEye

    This sends a strong message. You kill cops, you get killed. No second chances.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • thomas balzac

      How does this eye-for-an-eye "justice" make us any different than the Pashtun (e.g., "Taliban") code of law, "badal" - vengeance, or justice for injustice?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • alicewhite

      Hi, guys. My friends told me about She told me it is the best place to meet black white singles. I have tried. It’s fantastic. Come in and stay a while. Complete your profile. Give it a shot, you will find someone you like there. Have fun! You may find me there! 😉

      September 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      It also sends the message that it doesn't matter if those used to convict you recant or if new details come forward. If you kill a cop, there's NO way out even if there's growing doubt regarding your guilt. You could be innocent but, as soon as you're painted as a cop killer, there's no going back.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Justice Served

    Blame the following people, not the judicial system. ...........Trial witnesses Harriet Murray, Redd Coles, Dorothy Ferrell and Antoine Williams testified that Davis, wearing a white shirt, had struck Young and then shot MacPhail. A neighbor of the Davis family, Jeffrey Sapp, testified that soon after the murder Davis had confessed to him.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |

    It really feels good to the see justice being carried out and not derailed by feelings. May he be in gods hands now.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fed Up

      You actually believe that God approves of what is taking place tonight?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Blah, Blah...

    Race has nothing to do with it. "Beyond a doubt", and there were doubts if there weren't doubts, would the execution have been stayed 3 times previously?....7 out of 9 "witnesses" recanted. Did they lie then or now? Jurors have said they made a wrong decision. Who influenced their testimony to convict? You won, he's going to die....may God deal with you all accordingly. My hope is that you never get placed in a position to make that kind of decision.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mattyj

      "Race has nothing to do with it." Have you ever BEEN to Georgia? In that state, race has EVERYTHING to do with EVERYTHING. There is reasonable doubt, he should be let go. God bless his family.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. AlQ

    I am confused, we have a case where the majority of eye witnesses recanted their story, but yet still every organization with the power to stop this execution has elected to execute this man. Shame Shame Shame. I am disappointed in our justice system

    September 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrique Stuckey

      They should have 'recanted' their stories 17 years ago, not during the 11th hour of the execution. They had ample time to do so, so gripe at them.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel

    Greatest country in the world? Fairly barbaric and hypocritical actually. God bless America and the death penalty, you barbaric nation that claims to be the leaders of the free world. If you claim that murder is bad, then don't punish murder with murder to be a hypocrite! If he did kill that man (which I feel really bad for him and his family, don't get me wrong), then killing him would be like an eye for an eye. But even more shocking is that there is doubt in the case.

    God bless that I live in Canada, where at least our laws don't allow primitive punishments.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • RevJB

      God Bless all nations regardless of their failings.

      I share your sadness over yet another death.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
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