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.”

[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. Capercorn

    Another abuse of the Monopoly of Force. Can't bother to give a man a retrial when all the evidence is thrown into question? Nope. Finality is more important than certainty.

    The US criminal justice is a farce. An innocent man died tonight, and his blood is on the hands of every last man, woman and child in this "great" country of ours.

    May God have mercy on us all.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Willy Brown

    Hey may be gone but his name will carry on at ballot box next November I am sure

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • StopVotingForLawyers

      Stop electing lawyers to office, then demand judicial reform. TROY DAVIS... oh God... I'm so sorry they denied you due process.

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

    RHONDA is smiling and giggling? She's a twit.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Debbie

    I certainly hope that Troy Davis was guilty. I can't stand to think otherwise. If he was guilty, I wish he would have said so in a final statement when all hope was lost.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Clayton Bigsby

    He got it easy. Died within minutes with no pain. Justice is finally served for the family left behind by the victim. Good riddance you cop killing animal.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      its not the person that was just put to death you should be worried about. Its the real cop killers walking around, that was and is able to get away with it, because they are connected to crooked cops that are out there....wake up, no justice was not served.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AmazingG

    We all will face the ultimate judgement one day. God help us all.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. tim

    night night murderer

    September 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoJusticeNoPeace

      ur a loser

      September 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Russ

    It is done. I'm sure those people will find some other supposed innocent person to rescue and then we can hear about how his faith is strong. If you kill another person, you face the possibility of being killed for your crime so DON'T KILL ANYBODY. That is all.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rich

    Again, this one got far more compassion than he gave.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    About time this killer is put to death. ALL you punks that think you can rob a store and get away with shooting someone...I am glad this gross ,lying killer died.
    This killer is in he'll now..AMEN ,!!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoJusticeNoPeace

      yeah because you were there when it happened and have an eyewitness account? Hopefully you'll have more compassion when one of your folks gets canned by the system

      September 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jera

      I wonder, how your God feels about those who revel in the death of another?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DonDee

    I am Pro-Death Penalty, but if you're going to kill a man in the name of Justice you better be DAMN SURE he's truly guilty of the crime you're going to kill him for.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Eliot Fisk

    IT is so so sad that this country can be so hypocritical and so cruel at the same time. WE have just snuffed out the life of a man who seems by all evidence to have been innocent. What happened to PRESUMED INNOCENT"? Shame on all the hypocritical so called Christians who have supported this death by the sword!

    A pox on W Bush's Supreme Court and its sanctimonious idiot majority!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Leave it to a Liberal to bring politics into this....typical.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leftism is a mental disease

      Come back when you understand the concept of GUILTY and FOUND GUILTY BY A JURY OF HIS PEERS.


      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Never too late to blame Bush. Should have known he would be blamed somehow.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jera

      Isn't it curious, how quickly the insults fly, when your beliefs are challenged.
      "The other side must be wrong, for I am right, and that is the only way of it. Isn't it?"

      Consider that the evidence used to convict this man is thrown into question, does that still make the trial legitimate?
      If you were wrongly convicted of a crime you did not commit, would you not wish to have false evidence thrown out?
      Or would you be happy knowing that you died for your country, as long as your peers demand it?

      I wonder.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  13. stevenabb

    I was drinking a nice cold soda and eating a candy bar during the EXECUTION OF THE DOG!!! One less cop killer in the world tonight... Welcome to hell you animal... getting a bit toasty are we?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • NoJusticeNoPeace

      get a life

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arick

      God is dead, hell isn't real, deal with it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Democrat

      I am having pork ribs. Fitting.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      stevenabb, you are an assh•le, plain and simple.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whatever

      WOW!! You make me want to move to another planet!!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jera

      Tonight, some may mourn, and others rejoice.
      What a curious division, between those who weep for the ending of a life, and those who would laugh.

      It leaves one to wonder, If it was your loved one in that prison tonight, how would your feelings differ?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • fattymcfatterson

      ^ This guy's a genuine P.O.S.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikel

      Trials don't ensure that the truth comes out...just who can prove their case. When you have a death penalty case, you better be damned sure that there's enough evidence to kill someone over it. Death is final, no OOPS...sorry. The ultimate punishment requires the the absolute in evidence. There's been plenty of people we've killed on death row with what everyone thought was a cinch...but later found out they were wrong. It's really not as much about Troy Davis as it is about the level of proof we require to put someone to death. A higher standard is required.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      I just have to know, why did you have to say such a crual statement? Kids might read what you said really?? I guess you feel in the Casey Anthony case justice was served since they claimed she only hid her daughter body. 3 years she did was sufficient for a person that was irresponsible for her toddler being dead, so yeah 3 years and she has paid her debt to society, the crime, and her daughter. Yet this man wasn't actually proven to be connected to the murder. Sir I hope nobody ever accuse you of a crime you did not do. People said they lied to police, no correct evidence, and a man is dead, but you sleep well at night. Well news flash, its not the person that was just put to death you should be worried about. Its the real cop killers walking around, that was and is able to get away with it, because they are connected to crooked cops....wake up

      September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  14. d


    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shane Lucy

      How did he fail Obama had no power what so ever to stop the execution. You would know this if you ever took a civics class.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      First President Obama is not the most powerful man on the planet, what world are you in, Second lets start with the state of Georgia and their laws ask them why their governor cant stop an execute but a panel of people can. Third, review everyones role in the government, because clearly this was not a situation for our president. If thats the case lets blame, Ronald Regan, Bush 1, Bill Clinton, Bush 2, and Pres Obama, since he has been locked up for over 20 years under all these guys term, and has been up for execution 4 times. RIP Troy, but lets stop blaming the president for mistakes that shouldnt even have to reach his level. He has an entire country to look after, that is why there is state governments put in place.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MikeInNebraska

    Booyah! One down..need to get rid of these POS that are on Death Row as well.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
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