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. 36GENIUS

    Well the did has been done, Only God knows if he is innocent or not but one thing I do know for sure is JUDGE NOT FOR YE SHALL BE JUDGE FIRST. Especially in a controversial life taking issues as this.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael

      So then, by your logic we should have no court system, no cops, no legal system whatsoever. Good plan r-tard.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Laura JT

    Wasn't there a bible story about this? Or was that just the "Green Mile"? What barbarians we have become. And, NO, CNN I haven't already said this . . . CNNsucks.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. you feel good?

    Your blood lust will be your down fall. Value human life.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mark

    The GOP-dominated SCOTUS has gotten their wish. The bloodthirst of the WWJD crowd is satisfied for another day.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cleopatra

    This is our government.. I'm ashamed of it.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura JT

      So am I.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jera

      The government is merely serving the desires of it's people.
      Look at these people responding here.
      They see what they wish to see.
      They hear what the wish to hear.
      They wanted a guilty man to be put to death for a crime, and that is what they received.
      Their voices have more weight than the voice of justice.

      If you are to be ashamed of anyone, it is the people who support such a decision.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura JT

      So am I. It's amazing. I tried to post the simply statement "So am I" to Cleopatra and CNN is telling me it's looks as if I've already posted this statement, when I haven't . . . LOADS of sensorship going on here. Duck tape over the mouth, anyone?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle Shira

      Cleopatra, Laura and Janus. If you don't like it here get out. It's a free country here, nobody is forcing you to live here. Try out the Middle East or China.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Kennedy

      so am I...

      September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. He deserved rope, dragging death

    Needle was too good...anyways......white people took care of the turd

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter

      I can see ur talking out of ur a s s again this fine evening

      September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hope

      Have a heart!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      So rude !! White , Black, Brown ,Blue or purple..we are all human..we all bleed red !! God bless you need it !

      September 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    I now realize I will NEVER favor the death penalty again.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeInNebraska

      @ Bill. Unless it was YOUR father, brother, sister or mother that was murdered right? Yeah, I thought so.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vittorio Rinaldo


      Why would you favor executing someone unless you are 100% sure? Even if you lose a family member, wouldn't that doubt linger and make you feel uneasy thinking the real killer is out there on the loose?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jade

    This is an avoidable barbaric act, one that should resonate in our minds forever, reminding us of our lack of passion and reasonability. We should remain ashamed of those we have elected to represent us and our legal system who fail to apply colorless judgment. The finality of legally ill-prescribed death is not only barbaric but unforgivable.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter

    It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgement

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sue

    Troy Davis,you are in a very place now,you are with god.(r.I.p.)

    September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Democrat

      What is a "very place"?

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

    I don't think i'll ever understand why Casey Anthony is pretty much a free woman today and Troy Davis just lost his life over some bulls*** there was hardly any evidence of.
    This world keeps on getting worse, Im afraid of what the future beholds.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lynn

    So I guess it's ok if I go murder someone just because they murdered someone else...I mean seriously what kind of message is the death row sending out?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dam yank

    The supreme court is now a court of the corporations.....not the common man...

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Morris

    Georgia is a very racist and backward State. I am sorry for the good people (few) in that State but they elect these racist extremists and what can you expect? I don't want to avoid this place.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Proud Democrat

      The US Surpreme Court is not in Georgia fool.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • well

      It's not just Georgia.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • MikeInNebraska

      @Morris. Boohoo..the poor black man. FACT IS that there are MORE blacks in prision now than were slaves back in 1850. Whatcha have to say to that???

      September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Loren

    This is a classic example of prosecutors having too much power. They refused him a lie detector test and that in itself is a sign of a shady case. Our judicial system is flawed and the State of Georgia just murdered an innocent man. I cried after hearing that he is no longer with us. I will continue to pray for his family. By the way, the State of Georgia will get sued and have to pay for this in the coming years. Why? Because too many high profile figures stood behind his innocence. I hope the prosecutors get barred as well.


    A now unpatriotic American

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Arciniega

      He refused to take a lie detector test today. He said he didn't want to waste his last few hours on something that may not have saved him anyway.

      Research the case. Over 30 witnesses said he was guilty, many of whom never recanted their testimony. Over a dozen courts said he was guilty, including a unanimous Supreme Court tonight. He was guilty. There is no doubt.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Arciniega

      He refused to take a lie detector test today. He said he didn't want to waste his last few hours on something that may not have saved him anyway.

      Research the case. Over 30 witnesses said he was guilty, many of whom never recanted their testimony. Over a dozen courts said he was guilty, including a unanimous Supreme Court tonight.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
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