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. USAcommunistcountry

    @ GONZO ... wrong again. I am not from the middle east. Caucasian, born and raised in America and in the small percentage of the educated lot ...
    But i think Casey Anthony is your kind of person ...

    September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. teeks

    Casey Anthony kills her kid...goes free. This dude maybe kinda sorta killed this cop, we aren't sure....but he is black so it is likely that he did, so we are going to kill him anyway. Justice is served. I hate this should all kill yourselves.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Obamafan

    Obama doesn't care about black people.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sherri

    This was just so, so wrong......those who made this decision will someday have to face that.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gwats

    Doing the right is often unpopular and goes against the majority opinion, but at the end of the day, this guy was convicted, no physical evidence was presented to prove his innocence, and the 'buyers remorse' of those who properly testified under other against him was not enough to save him. He's dead, and that's the proper and just outcome for his crime.

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

      no, you got that mixed up. no evidence was given to prove him guilty. which should be all that matters. but apparently isn't.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. descarado

    I oppose the death penalty even stronger than I oppose celebrity opinions being given special status. Who cares what those ditch pigs think about anything? Why print their bonehead opinions on anything other than their trade?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. canon808

    The family of the victim is supposed to get some "PEACE" tonight. Someone paid for the murder of their son, no one care if it's the true killer but that wasn't the point... was it?

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

      You are quite correct. For the mother of the victim she wanted closure and it didn't seem to matter if the person was guitly or not, that wasn't the point for her. Someone was going to pay.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Morris

    Disgusting! God have mercy on this nation!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • I am GOD!


      September 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • gingersrule1

      Actually. What is disgusting is that they had physical evidence of the police officers blood on a pair of shorts in Troy Davis' mother house but they couldn't use the shorts as evidence because they didn't get a search warrant. If there was blood from the murder victim on a pair of his shorts and they couldn't use it because of a technicality that is the screwed up part. That is like telling people murder is okay as long as they can find a way to get evidence thrown out. Pay more attention you idiots. Our system definitely doesn't work. I don't think the average American makes a very good juror. And our system is designed to let people get rid of the evidence because it can be too hard to get a search warrant.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JusticeServed

    The cop killer is no more. Lethal Injection was too kind. Here is to Troy rotting in hell forever. He got no pass to heaven, he went straight to hell. I hope Satan pistol whips him everyday like he did the homeless guy and dangles a beer in front of him, when he is thirsty.

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

      Who are you to rejoice in his death? Were you there the night McPhail died? How are you so sure it was actually Troy who committed the murder?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • gg

      no one knows for sure who killed that policeman, you're simply a blood thirsty red neck!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jfra

      This is a pretty negative and violent world. It's hostile comments that create bad thoughts and actions. I certainly do not know if Mr. Davis was guilty or not. There is reasonable doubt. Thankfully I live in Canada where we do not have this punishment. Unfortunately too many innnocent people have been put to death under the death penalty. There are many problems with the death penalty, and one point is, if the legal system has made a mistake, it's almost impossible for them to admit it or change a ruling. People need to be kinder to one another, I see no good can come from something like this.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bao

    Praying for him? Yeah, how is that working out for you religious nut jobs?

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

    We let Casey Anderson off the hook for killing her kids, but we Murdered Troy Davis due to false accusations.

    In FatherTime we Trust...

    September 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Check your facts

      Casey ANTHONY killed her KID....

      September 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Martha

    Mister President had had the possibilty to save a life. He didn't do anything. The USA aren't better than any barbarious nation as long as inside one of the States of the US is used death penality, as long as revenge overwhelms mercy.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Democratic Love

      Sorry, but Obama was playing golf and did not have the time.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • gg

      No it seems the President had no say in the matter, at least that's what some lawyer was saying today..

      September 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Murka justice system is a joke

    They couldn't get this guy a new trial? Yeah american justice system is a joke. Love the european one. You know the one that rehabilitates instead of incarcerate and murder citizens like animals.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. WOW

    Devastated and disappointed. Anything we dont like or understand we condemn, discard or destroy. You are talking about a man's life, if there were any doubt it should have been explored. Life is not valued and Black life is worth even less. This country is in a downward spiral. It's all out war on African Americans and the media and politicians are the ring leaders. Mr Davis it is sad and disgraceful what we have donw, but you are in a better place. May God keep you and bless and comfort your family.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      A powerful statement, I hope many see this.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mark in omaha

    The unfortunate thing is how long a death row person lived on the tax payers dollar. If we have a death penalty, it should be swift and decisive.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Becky

      The cost of a death row case is actually HIGHER than the cost of life in prison.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Exactly! This murderer has been sponging off the taxpayers dime for twenty years. WHY?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jfra

      The sad thing is, if he was innocent, they kept in prison for many many years and then put to death an innocent man. That is the tragedy here. I have no idea whether or not Mr. Davis was guilty or not, there is reasonable doubt. I am glad that I live in a country that does not have the death penalty. Here are some of the countries who do allow the death penatly: Iran, India, Pakistan, Afganistan, Bahrain, Syria, Egypt, Libya. Time to seriously think about this.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
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