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:

[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. Chris

    SMDH. The death penalty in this case should have been vacated on the grounds that both civil and human rights have not only been violated, but totally ignored. Disappointingly, an existing ambiguous and confusing jury instruction and verdict coupled with multiple counts of cruel and unusual punishment have prevailed tonight in America.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  2. godslaw

    2 minutes till the RIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Democrats in 2012

      Brasil Nuts for everyone!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RevJB

    revenge is not justice. I get it though. It is a tempting lie to believe it will bring peace to anyone.
    This will bring peace to no one.
    Tomorrow the McPhails will get up and still not have their loved one.
    Tomorrow the Davis family and others will get up and not have their loved one.
    Who feels better? If you think you do, can you help me understand why? Who hurt you? Why do you feel so powerless in your own life that you rejoice in the destruction of another life? Look closely in the mirror; has it come to this you feel joy in the death of a fellow human being?

    Look very closely at yourself, can you cast the first stone? Who is in a position to truly condemn?

    God Bless each of you tonight; even those of you with whom I have disagreement. May peace and compassion surprise you in your own life, and may you pass it on to others.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • I am GOD

      I bless you back.

      PS.. make me more money.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heidihell

      Thank u for putting it in a manner I did not have the patience to explain. I would find no resolution in causing another family the grief I had already gone through with the death of a loved one.

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

      "Revenge"? It's called CAPITAL PUNISHMENT, and YOUR (supposed) 'God' is the one who created it. Go back to seminary school.

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

      Thanks God, I appreciate it daily.
      Sorry, I am not in the money making type ministry. I'll let the others know though that you are running short.
      No worries; we got your back.

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

      been to seminary, can you please demonstrate for me where capital punishment is advocated for states in the bible? I mean other than the crucifixion (which I believe you will agree was a mis-use). Moses even set up special cities where murders could live so that capital punishment did not become a matter of state and family vengeance. Check it out in Deuteronomy.
      I seem to recall "vengeance is mine, thus says the LORD." Just some food for thought. I appreciate your engagement though.

      The bible is a violent book and there is much killing that seems condoned. I would challenge that Christians (and I cannot speak for all of them) have the chief commandment to love God and neighbor; even when it would appear to feel better to kill the neighbor. Even Cain was given life without parole.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Vida

    I am unfortunately pale,.. and I saying that this is unjust .. Troy Davis should NOT be dead .. and i hope everyone who aided in his death gets the same fate slow and determined so they feel the burn

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pc

    Time to die, 2pac! You shot another white man. Seriously, it's sad a is what it is. Rest in peace.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Melancon

    Folks, you're about to see the worst race riots you've ever seen. The world will rumble

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      I'm worried about that as well. The economic strife the underclass has been experiencing will intensify the reaction. This may be the tipping point.

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

      Wow – I'm white, but I guess I'm the "underclass"....the strife I've been experiencing lately.....not sure what you got, sister, but I've never had the balls to call anyone the "underclass" need to be grateful for what you do have, because there but for the grace of God go I......(....shaking head.......)

      September 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Zakk Neumann

    Rest In Peace. Only God will know the truth!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. john smith

    I'm sick of people talking about race. The entire case against him is weak as hell and has completely fallen apart. I don't know how the people in the justice system of Georgia can live with themselves. no murder weapon, no physical evidence, witness testimony only and 7 of those 9 have RECANTED! Who's left? "redd" the guy that probably did the murder who even confessed to having a .38 "which he gave to a friend that night", ....uh..yeah. The man that ADMITTED to harassing Young and the most likely person to kill the cop. I don't know what's wrong with these idiots.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. hedeservedit

    so jus tbecause hes black hes innocent? they couldnt prove his innocence and had years to do that.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. darryl

    Maybe by getting the extra time he got to watch Survivor on CBS....hahaha

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. outawork

    no doubt at all – soon a murder will die and burn for all eternity.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Liberty Queen

    The entire McPhail family are sick sobs and the mother should have been required to be present at the execution of an innocent.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • RevJB

      I don't know them, but I imagine they are simply hurt grieving people who really believe the will feel better after 11:08PM. I am sad that I know they will not–not really. They will still have holidays and birthdays without their loved one, and I doubt they will raise a glass and say "we can finally move on and think of him no more now that Troy is dead." Grief unfortunately does not work that way.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. anne

    life is so precious. you can't just rip that away from anyone who is lucky enough to have it

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • If you don't love it, leave it.

      Sure you can, if that person takes the life of another.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • RevJB

      So who takes that person's life (the executioner I mean); by your logic s/he should be condemned to death too.
      Then someone would need to take that executioner's life; then the next, and the next. Where should it all end?
      If we kill all the guilty, who would be left?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NoJusticeNoPeace

    And another thing, the mans who was killed in texas? His family did not want the death penalty for the men who killed their loved one, even though it was CLEAR that that murder was a hate crime. Yet this family is chanting kill him for a man that could be innocent. You people are a real trip. Im glad the minorities can show some compassion. Its clear what kind of people are holding the country back....SMH

    September 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marina

      That family who is chanting such words fail to realize that many blacks in this country are educating an coming up. This too shall past, and the day will come when they will be faced with the truth, and I hope they will be gracious in making apologies to Troy's family. All I can say is that true justice was served in Texas at 6:21PM

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

      um, the same people that came from the crap hole that is Africa???? Looks like they've done a great job over in Africa btw...

      September 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. tellyou1nce

    You suppose he's begging for his life right now? ... now he knows how his victims felt... bye-bye!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      That is absolutely disgusting.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • tellyou1nce

      .... thank you! alan.... refresh, refresh... i'm waiting......

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

      In all honesty, he probably went in quietly and accepted his fate.

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