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. Come at me!

    To everyone reading these comments don't listen to Nick he is a Anti-Christ troll. xD

    September 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ashley

    This case goes beyond race, Troy Davis could have very well been anyone of us; wrongly accused of a murder we did not commit and subsequently facing the death penalty. We as Americans have to band together and fight against such injustices in the hopes that our voices are heard and situations like this do not occur in the future.

    -I Am Troy Davis, You Are Troy Davis, We Are Troy Davis

    September 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • I'm not Troy Davis

      I'm still alive...

      September 22, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wayra

    I'm not north-american.. I never understood what gives you americans the right to decide what to do with a man's life? you who claim to believe in God, do not believe in his justice.. bunch of hypocrites. The world is appalled by the this decision.. Shame on you !!!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaxman

      If you're not from here then shut up. I don't tell you what to do in your country so mind your own business youass!

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

      The world is appalled!!!!!!!!LOL GIve me a break.........hey they just executed a white guy in Texas today. Why weren't you preaching then about the death penalty is wrong and all that other crap. You know why? Because you're a f****** hypocrite.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wayra

      @ Jaxman, are you kidding me? the USA tells every body in the world what to do in their own countries!!!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. 60minuteman

    If this man was not guilty, the Georgia Board of Pardons will answer to God for this. If this man was guilty, he has paid his due & he is even with the house. RIP......

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roxanne

    Some people are so ignorant when they comment. I don't know if Troy Davis killed the man or not. However, if you take an introductory Psychology course you would know that eye witness testimony is very unreliable. That still doesn't mean he didn't kill the police officer.The only problem I have with this is that 7 out of the 9 witnesses recanted their statement; that is what has me feeling doubt. I'm from Georgia, and for people who are talking about the "race card," racism is VERY prevalent in Georgia and its judicial system. Racism is just done "in the dark," though some people are just blatantly racist. I grew up there so I know. The "race card" is used by some blacks, but don't try to make this case one of them when you have never lived in Georgia and don't know about racism there. I'm praying for both families.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jas

    The state of GA just didn't want to pay that money had Troy Davis been found innocent after all this time.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dirt Diggler

    Cop killers should never walk this earth...Great job Supreme Court for giving justice to this slain cop family.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jonathan

    Modern-day, legalized lynching. Georgia: "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. We really don't care if you might be innocent, nor if we have no evidence. We want retribution. This black guy will fit the bill." Shameful.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Guy

    The issue is not the death penalty – for me, anyway. And I'm white, but race has nothing to do with his thing. This guy was certainly not going to win any awards for his contributions to the civic good, but, there really wasn't conclusive evidence that he shot anyone. For the most part, there was the testimony of a neighborhood guy who had acted in concert with Davis to rob and beat a homeless man. When it became clear that one of them had shot a police officer (it seems that they didn't know, in the beginning, that McPhail was a policeman) the accuser got a lawyer, went to the police, and said Davis was the shooter. Folks in the neighborhood say the accuser was widely know to be the actual shooter. I live in a similarly crappy area and I suspect that the neighborhood scuttlebutt was right. Maybe Davis was guilty – but the facts surrounding the case make it far from provable beyond a reasonable doubt. I mean – if that's not a problem for people I think I wanna live in Canada.

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

    @ Michael it seems like your already in HELL!!!! poor thing

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

    the justice system in this country is completely can someone be put to death when there is significant doubt as to his involvement in the now the murders are without any doubt, the Georgia DA...among others...

    how they can sleep at night speaks volumes to their character...

    September 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Wanderer81

    Your debt to society and the family has been paid in full Mr. Davis. The last instant of your life was as an eternity to Almighty God, and He cares as little about our sins as He does our measurement of time. If you reached out for His mercy even in the most remote region of your mind, even that last of the last moments of your life, then your soul was carried across the gulf as a child runs to it's mother. That was the price that HE paid for you and for me. God be with you. Rest in peace.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Justice Was Served

    Today JUSTICE HAS PREVAILED and was served on an egregious killer who was not repentant for his crime! And for all those who wasted their time begging for his execution to be stopped look what it got you, the High Court of the Nation thought better and knew it could not and would not be stopped. May this bring closure to the family of his victim. They would not have settled for anything else and this just goes to show that when you kill someone in these United States, You Are Going to PAY for it in like manner! No doubt about it. In this case there were two witnesses who did not recant their story and that was obviously enough to get his execution to move forward. A menace to society has now been eliminated and that just goes to show that all those organizations, the pope, movie stars, and other beggars just waste their time appealing for a convicted murderer to be spared. He will not be, how could they be? Murder is a crime in which the convicted can expect the same done on his or her life! This is the United States of America! No cop-outs or relying on wasting the people's tax money for years of caring and coddling murderers. That will simply not happen in this country. Now all of you can go back to your houses and forget about this. Justice Has Been Rightfully Served Today! And don't try coming back again pleading for another case as the same thing will happen. You will lose. The law is the law. You are not. End of story!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kyler11

      You are certifiable if you think this was justice. DNA is king, not perception and not questionable testimony. Save your holier than thou speech for the birds

      September 22, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Indeed ItWas

      You/re so right Justice Was Served! Now, I hope all of those who support Mu-rd-er get a pat on their behind and get told they can stop their DRAMA and THEATRICS now and go home. It's late and you lost. Get over it already. Let this go to show you that Mu-rd-er will not be tolerated in America without harsh consequences in the end for those who commit such heinous crimes! And by the way, those who crawled to the Nation's Capitol thinking you were somehow going to stop the execution, you don't know how pathetic you looked begging for the life of a convicted mu-rd-er-er while the family of the mu-rd-er-ed was still grieving their loss. Now, that's cold! That was truly a sad episode to have to see but in the end, it got you nowhere. So let it serve as a good lesson not to repeat again. Dispense with the drama already. You folks need to go home and forget about trying to be the saviors of the world! It just don't work since there are laws in place in this country that will vastly differ with your mere opinion on things. Know and understand that with laws against those who k-ill your efforts are empty and will never be enough to turn things around no matter how hard you try!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. CHC

    This execution was cruel & unusual punishment. Plain & simple. I feel life in prison was the proper solution. God bless Mr. MacPhail's soul & his family. God bless Mr. Davis' soul & his family. All of us have lost. But we must also remain hopeful. Now is not the time for finger pointing. It is time to look deep into our own hearts. Stop the violence. Put down the guns. Forgive those who have hurt us. Help our neighbors. Take responsibility for our own actions. Sacrifice. Think about what type of world we want our children to live in. Spend a moment each day to pray. It is up to each of us to change.

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

      If you feel life in prison is the miraculous panacea then I suggest you Start Taking Out Your Own Wallet immediately to fund the many years he would have had to be supported by public tax dollars, especially in this kind of economy! Now, again, seriously speaking, with your mentality and that of others who think like you, Start Writing the State Personal Checks to keep alive those whom you believe should live. Would you do that? Honestly, would you be willing to do that? If not, put your money where your mouth is already.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. petercottentail

    Wow, Truely is sad that the Supreme Court can give Foster a stay of execution when clearly all the evidence points toward him. Gun in hotel room, his Siemen found on his victom. Davis nothing no DNA, no WEAPON.. Just 9 eye witnesses that later 7 of them recanted their statements... Justice was not done!!

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