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. Vittorio Rinaldo

    So this case pretty much shows that proving the guilt beyond the reasonable doubt is mere BS when we are lectured as jurors in the courtroom. American justice will do anything and everything to burn someone for a crime even if they possibly get the wrong man. Everybody involved in this mess will have to explain this to the God Almighty...Noone lives forever. I hope I get good seats for that trial.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. blah

    i am white, and i live in a death penalty state, which i support, but this was murder by the state of georgia and the supreme court....i believe on racial bias....i'm truly sorry for the family of the victim, but with witnesses recanting and perjuring themselves, if this were a white man he woulda already had a retrial...or the charges dismissed...i used to believe in the federal justice system, but not so much anymore.....

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Laura JT

    Apparently CNN will not allow me to say this, since they keep saying I've already said this, but whatever, I'll try again. Wasn't there a bible story about this? What barbarians we have become. And, NO, CNN I haven't already said this .

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Darlene

    The guy sit in prison for 20 years that is a life sentence! Is the mother feeling better now that Troy did life and now died? Even though they had no evidence and change of testimony?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    Why would all of these witnesses recant their statement? This guy had PLENTY of stays and chances to prove his innocence, the whole reason lie detector results cannot be used in evidence in a criminal trial is because they can be beat. All you need is a lack of conscience, THIS has been proven time and time again, ever hear the phrase "if you tell the lie enough you start to believe it"? Good riddance, you have cost the taxpayers enough. Where were all of the protesters for the piece of trash in Texas that was executed today too? I feel the same way about him...

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

      Was there a lack of evidence in the Texas case? Was there witness testimony that was recanted in that case? Was there a shred of doubt in that case? You represent the worst this country has to offer. A small brain that doesn't comprehend details but a loud mouth to trumpet your ignorant opinion.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Yay! Jump up and down racists! Go to your tea bagger party and celebrate the death of a human being. We'll see ya at the next abortion rally where you're shaming people for not respecting life. GOP = hypocrisy. I hope you die alone without Medicare and Social Security when you vote your way into what you all deserve.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bob

    Why in this world, one has to have two punishments like this, First he spent over 2o years in prison , during that time, he was dying every day thinking that he will be hanged, Second, he was put to death at last
    I am not against anything, but I am very much against in delaying this kind of thing. If someone is in prison like this guy for over 20 years, I think he should not be put to death.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sara

    This is a heavy burden on this country. It's very possible that the State of Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court has killed an innocent man. It is also a sad day that Americans can revel in the death of another human being. Seeing another killed does not bring "peace or closure" to Anyone. As a mother of a murdered son, I 've have a "HOLE" in my heart and an awful void in my life, but the execution of his assailant would never heal it....unless of course I was revengeful. My God is a mighty God and I am still standing, I can still laugh, I can stlll LOVE. Without GOD, no matter an execution of not, You will NOT find peace unless you have the KING of PEACE embeded in you.

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

      Research the facts. He was guilty and many, many witnesses who saw him do it and didn't recant their testimony said so. This is a horribly sad event for all involved but it doesn't take away the fact that he committed this heinous crime.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vittorio Rinaldo


      It turns out of some of the witnesses were coerced by the police. Some were even shown Davis's picture before the lineup. So there are definitely some shady dealings in this case. If some people are recanting their story despite the risk of being locked up for perjury, I would be more inclined to give him life in prison rather than death penalty, because there is no turning back from death.

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

    Listen, I am ignorant to the details in this case. However, can you imagine if there was a white president sitting in office and did nothing to save this guy?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Troy@DavisJustice

    This country is messed up.. Where is the justice in killing an innocent man

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

      He was guilty. All I can suggest is that you research the facts and not rely on the media to tell you what is true. Over 30 witnesses, many of whom knew him and all of whom were black, said he did it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Erik

    This is pretty disgusting. I can't believe I live in this barbaric country. I didn't ask to be born here. Oh well, we won't last much longer as a country anyway 🙂

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

      Then leave, idiot. We don't want you here. This is a country of laws and when you murder someone, you pay the price. I love bleeding hearts like you. I'm sure you bad mouth cops,too....until you get robbed. Tool.

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

      Erik, sadly, I think you are right. Too many innocent people are put to death, justice is only for the wealthy, the education system sucks (no one reveres education – too busy watching the Kardashians & NFL) & the middle class shrinks every day while poverty grows. If Rick Perry is elected president – and I am virtually certain he will be – the U.S. will tumble to the ground like so much dust. Our stay at the top was woefully brief.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. paul

    may god have mercy on your soul and rest in peace

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew

    I am a firm believer in the death penalty. I believe, if you are proven guilty beyond any doubt for murder, you should be put to death. However, there was much doubt to the guilt of this man. Police coercion, recanted testimony, and a murder weapon that was never found. This whole thing stinks.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GodDa*nAmerica

    Closure is a myth.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Troy Davis

    Hey there fellows!

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


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

      Troy, what the hell you doing in heaven?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pelle

      Troy, please give Jesus a hug for me. He knows just how you feel – after all, they executed him even though he'd committed no crime.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Captain Edward Low

    better check the deceased and find out whose watch and rings he had on really belong to!..LOL!!

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