Troy Davis put to death
September 21st, 2011
11:50 PM ET

Troy Davis put to death

Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Davis died at 11:08 p.m. ET, according to a prison official. The execution was about four hours later than initially scheduled, because prison officials waited for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Davis' request for a stay.

After 10 p.m. ET, the Supreme Court, in a brief order, rejected Davis' request. His supporters had sought to prevent the execution, saying seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Below are the developments as they happened. Read the full story here.

[Updated at 11:50 p.m.] Jon Lewis of WSB radio, one of the execution witnesses, gave this account of the minutes before Davis' death:

After the warden read the execution order and asked whether Davis had anything to say, Davis - strapped to a gurney - lifted his head up and looked at the witness area's first row, which was where MacPhail's relatives and friends sat.

“(Davis) made a statement in which he said ... 'Despite the situation you're in, (I) was not the one who did it.' He said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun. He said to the family that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother.

"He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. He asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working, to keep the faith. And then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said 'are going to take my life,' ... ‘May God have mercy on your souls,’ and his last words to them (were), 'May God bless your souls.'"

Another witness, reporter Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, also gave quotes from Davis. According to her, Davis said: "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have gun."

"And that’s when he told his friends to continue the fight and 'look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth,'" Cook said.

Davis also said, according to Cook: "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls."

Davis said to the MacPhail family, according to Cook: "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

Hours earlier, Davis declined what the prison offered him as a final meal, Cook said.

[Updated at 11:12 p.m.] Davis has been executed, a prison representative has said. The time of death was 11:08 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 10:55 p.m.] Davis' execution is expected to begin between 11:05 to 11:10 p.m. ET, the Georgia Department of Corrections says.

[Updated at 10:36 p.m.] People who'd been protesting for hours across the street from the prison where Davis will be executed are chanting, "We are Troy Davis," CNN's David Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 10:21 p.m.] The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Davis' motion for a stay of execution.

Word of the Supreme Court's decision comes more than three hours after Davis was scheduled to be executed, and more than four hours after Davis' attorneys had filed the motion.

With the ruling, Georgia is expected to proceed with Davis' execution.

[Updated at 10:07 p.m.] The daylong gathering across the street from the prison by Davis' supporters has turned into a candlelight vigil, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports. Hundreds still are waiting for a resolution. Some are praying, and some others are singing.

[Updated at 9:41 p.m.] The Rev. Raphael Warnock said he was standing with Davis' relatives on the grounds of the prison when they heard the execution wouldn't happen at the scheduled time.

"I was standing with the family at about 7 p.m. By that time, of course, naturally, we were expecting the worst," Warnock, a pastor to Davis' family, told CNN's Piers Morgan. "Suddenly we began to hear cheers from the crowd across the way, and the word came that the execution had been delayed.

"Certainly we're glad that Troy Davis is still alive, but we are still witnessing, in my estimation, a civil right violation and a human rights violation in the worst way unfold before our very eyes. This is Troy Davis’ fourth execution date. I’m glad that he’s alive, but that in and of itself is cruel and unusual punishment. America can do much better than this."

Asked if Davis had had what would have been offered as a last meal, Warnock indicated that Davis might have skipped it.

“I do know that on the last time he received an execution warrant, he refused his last meal," Warnock said. "I spoke earlier tonight with his nephew ... and he said his uncle would refuse his last meal again today. He has continued to insist that this is not his last meal. I must say to you that he evinces a faith that is just amazing, even to me as his pastor."

[Updated at 9:05 p.m.] The number of police officers standing outside the Georgia prison housing Davis has risen to more than 100, CNN's David Mattingly reported. The officers are watching protesters, who've been across the street for hours.

The crowd has been orderly, Mattingly said. While it had been chanting for much of the day, they're "probably as quiet as I’ve heard them all night," Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 8:55 p.m.] Dozens of people have gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in support of Davis, footage from CNN affiliate WJLA shows.

Still no ruling from the court on Davis' request for a stay of execution.

[Updated at 8:39 p.m.] This video report from CNN's David Mattingly, made about 40 minutes ago, shows the people who've been protesting across the street from the prison where Davis is being held, and the police officers in riot gear who are in front of the prison, watching the protesters.

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[Updated at 8:19 p.m.] The mother of the police officer that Davis was convicted of killing told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she is "absolutely devastated" that the execution has yet to happen.

“I’m absolutely devastated because I want it over with. ... They’ve been through the courts four times there in Georgia. They’ve been to the Supreme Court three times," Anneliese MacPhail said in an interview from her home, referring to previous delays. "This delay, again, is very upsetting and I think very unfair to us."

"I'd like to close this book," she said. "We feel (Davis is) guilty. The evidence and everything that we have seen - that I have seen , because I’ve been to all the trials - he is guilty, and I believe in that. And so does the rest of my family.”

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 8:10 p.m.] The time that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking to rule on Davis' motion for a stay of execution is unusual, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Usually, it’s handled pretty promptly," Toobin said.

Davis' lawyers filed the motion at about 6 p.m., an hour before Davis' scheduled execution. The state attorney general's office filed a response shortly afterward.

The two hours that the court has had the motion is "not a long time, but it's long enough for (the nine justices) to respond and say, 'Go ahead,'" Toobin said. "So it does suggest that they’re taking this seriously, and there may be some disagreement.”

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] After a brief moment of jubilation upon hearing that the execution hasn't yet happened, Davis' supporters - who have gathered outside the grounds of the prison where he is being held - are regrouping and talking about what might be next, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports. "Troy Davis can never die" is a common theme.

The state of Georgia isn't proceeding with the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Davis' request for a stay. Davis' attorneys filed the request about an hour before Davis' scheduled 7 p.m. execution.

Davis' supporters, who had been chanting, are now letting out cheers as drivers pass and honk their horns. Otherwise, the mood is tense as they wait for a development, Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m.] The state of Georgia hasn't yet proceeded with the execution of Troy Davis, because it is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on his request for a stay, CNN's Bill Mears reports.

Davis had been scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. ET. His attorneys filed a motion asking the Supreme Court for a stay about an hour before the scheduled execution time.

[Updated at 7:06 p.m.] Inside the grounds of the prison where Davis is scheduled to be executed, about 100 people, including Davis' sister, have formed a tight circle and are praying and singing, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.

[Updated at 6:32 p.m.] Davis' attorneys have filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for a stay of execution, the court has said. No decision yet.

[Updated at 6:28 p.m.] Earlier, this blog mentioned a protest outside the White House against Troy Davis' scheduled execution. Here is video of the protest:

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 6:20 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that according to the state Department of Corrections' schedule, Davis would have been offered a mild sedative, to calm his nerves, at 6 p.m.

[Updated at 5:58 p.m.] Davis' supporters outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is to be executed are growing louder, CNN's David Mattingly reports. Frequent chants include: "Death Row? Hell No!" and "Free Troy Davis."

[Updated at 5:54 p.m.] CNN's David Mattingly notes that Davis, who had been scheduled for execution three previous times, "has never been as close to dying as he is at this hour." A previous scheduled execution was called off more than two hours before it was to happen; this time, Davis is a little more than an hour from the scheduled time.

"He has already said goodbye to friends and family visiting today," Mattingly writes. "He's been served his last meal. Everyone is waiting to see if a last-minute appeal now working it's way up the legal system might somehow stop or delay Troy Davis' pending appointment with lethal injection."

[Updated at 5:41 p.m.] The Georgia Supreme Court says it has unanimously denied a stay of execution for Troy Davis.

The court also denied his request for another appeal to be heard.

His attorneys will now ask the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution - Davis' last hope, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said.

"The United States Supreme Court has a procedure in place. They know when executions are coming; they are expecting an application, so I expect this will be acted on fairly quickly. ... It’s unlikely that a stay will be granted, but that possibility exists, and that’s Troy Davis’ only hope," Toobin said.

[Updated at 4:33 p.m.] With one eye on the clock, celebrity supporters of Troy Davis are using their platforms to continue to spread the word about the Georgia inmate.

[Updated at 4:31 p.m.] A Butts County Superior Court judge has declined to halt the execution of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Davis’ attorney Brian Kammer tells CNN the appeal is now being brought before the Georgia Supreme Court.

[Updated at 4:14 p.m.] Davis saw 25 visitors Wednesday during the six-hour window (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) he was allowed to receive them before his scheduled 7 p.m. execution, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The visitors included relatives, friends, clergy and an attorney.

[Updated at 3:06 p.m.] A look at Davis' schedule today at the Jackson, Georgia, prison where he is scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m., from CNN's John Murgatroyd:

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Visitation with family, friends, clergy and/or attorneys.

3 p.m.: Will undergo a physical.

4 p.m.: Last meal offered.

5 p.m.: Opportunity to record final statement.

6 p.m.: An optional sedative will be offered.

[Updated at 3:02 p.m.]  About 100 people have gathered outside the White House in Washington, D.C., protesting Davis' scheduled execution in Georgia. The crowd consists mostly of students from Washington's Howard University, CNN's Lesa Jansen and Bob Kovach report.

One of the protesters, Howard graduate student Tamatha Scott, said in a CNN iReport video that the students marched from Howard to the White House, responding to student leaders' call to protest on Twitter.

“I started seeing the tweets about it late last night. It has been a very peaceful protest,” Scott said.

CNN's Lesa Jansen took this photo of the protest:

[Updated at 2:38 p.m.] An example of the high-profile support that Davis has received: Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey, posted the following to his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon:

"The State should not be executing Troy Davis. . . if there is even a chance that he is innocent, why execute?"

Davis has gained international support. Public figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated. On Wednesday, the French Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it "deeply regrets" the parole board's decision.

[Updated at 2:32 p.m.] Outside the Jackson, Georgia, prison where Davis is to be executed at 7 p.m., many of the speakers have struck hopeful notes, and some say they hope to change the system for the future, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

Many are holding hand-lettered signs, with messages such as, "Spare Troy Davis." Some have produced signs showing Davis' picture and the message, "NAACP says too much doubt."

One of the signs carried outside the Jackson prison refers to the NAACP's stance.

[Updated at 1:34 p.m.] Dozens of people have already gathered at the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reported.

People gather Wednesday outside the prison in Jackson, Georgia, where Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is among those at the site.

The group is praying and holding hands, Valdes reported.

[Updated at 1:28 a.m. ET]  The Georgia Department of Corrections told CNN it has denied a request by Troy Davis' lawyers to conduct a polygraph test.

[Updated at 10:16 a.m. ET] The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to reconsider its decision denying clemency to Troy Davis.

Supporters of Davis have been hoping that some last-ditch efforts might help save him from being executed on Wednesday night. Earlier Wednesday, his team filed an appeal asking to stay his execution.

[Posted at 9:13 a.m. ET] Attorneys for Troy Davis, facing execution in Georgia at 7 p.m. Wednesday, have filed a request to stay his execution in Butts County Superior Court.

Davis is scheduled to die by lethal injection Wednesday night in Jackson, Georgia, for the 1989 shooting death of off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail.

The parole board declined to grant Davis clemency Tuesday following a hearing Monday in which it heard testimony calling into question physical evidence and witness statements that a Chatham County jury relied on in convicting Davis in 1991. In Georgia, only the board - not the governor - has the right to grant clemency.

Since Davis' conviction, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. Davis' supporters say the original witnesses were fearful of police and spoke under duress.

Other witnesses also have since come forward with accounts that call Davis' conviction into question, according to his supporters.

soundoff (5,817 Responses)
  1. Inri

    Unfortunately, if Troy Davis truly is innocent the blood is now on the hands of McPhail's family and his soul will now never know peace. They've actually transferred any punishment a truly guilty person would have received in the afterlife to the soul of Officer McPhail. This family will never know peace. Nor will they have "closure."

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

    The needle is too humane for some people. It's been a long 22 years but I'm glad to finally see justice served.

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

    This is a tragedy just like the lost of the officer. I pray for all families involved. This is a perfect opportunity to not allow an innocent person die in vain. He was appearently too special for this mean and vile world. If everyone would ask themself this question: what if that person dying was me or one of my loved ones and we were completely innocent yet the judicial system didn't hear us because of our skin(race), ethnicity, religion or any factor that makes you different? How would you feel then. It's easy to judge when it's not at your domain. The next person's tragedy can easily be your reality in a blink of an eye. Learn to appreciate life and those in the world with you. The judicial leaders of this suppose to be great U.S.A. should ask themself the same question and get off their self proclaimed high pedistals and remember the real world. The system is as bad as each of them make it and we as citizens of the U.S.A. should hold them accountable for their gross neglegence just as they do us. It's time to get it together AMERICA. Tragedy is tragedy no matter who is the creater of it; when it hits home everyone feels it and wants it to stop or get better.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Wikitruth

    Yeah he seemed like a great guy... as far as guys who shoot at cars are concerned...

    Oh, and 7 of the 12 jurors were black.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark MacPhail

    Folks, Troy just arrived here. Enjoy your great Satan, America.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Caitie

    STOP SAYING THIS IS RACIALLY CHARGED- JUST TONIGHT WE EXECUTED A WHITE MAN FOR HIS HORRIFIC AND DISGUSTING CRIMES AGAINST AN INNOCENT BLACK MAN. I don't know all of the specifics of this case but from what I read today, it sounds like he had appeal after appeal and the decision never wavered based on evidence. They are condemning the ACT not the RACE. Please stop, you send us back years and years when you act as though someone is being punished for their skin color as opposed to their crime!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jm

      Um Caitie,.... in the Texas case there was plenty of physical evidence and it was a hate crime. in this case there was apparently no physical evidence and 7 witnesses recanted their testimony.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • But Don'tForget

      Um, JM, but *two* witnesses did not recant their story! And don't forget it takes only ONE witness to secure a conviction.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joleah

    Wow it could bring her peace that a man who is possibly innocent is executed in exchange. Well do you feel any better now? Whatever helps you sleep better at night. Executions don't bring relatives back. It's just another murder.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Too Funny

    Funny how this was appealed and appealed and appealed. Not just once did a judge deny it, but many times. Apparently all the CNN readers were in the court room back then, they all heard the testimony, they all saw the evidence. None of them are basing their opinion off of the public opinion. If this was a white guy...wouldn't even make the news. Racism exist today because African Americans enable it through ignorance.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • jm

      And you just proved your own ignorance by your ignorant comments.....

      September 22, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. This is the U.S.A.

    and that's just how we roll............................feel me!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Atlantahasnofuture

    Why does the CNN article track the minute by minute details in the execution of the inmate while the details of the death of the officer in this case are not mentioned at all...sad. Did you even think to mention the family of the slain officer and the hardship that they have experienced since the death of their loved one. I'm sick and tired of the apologists at cnn... Atlanta is not the south and is the most disgusting place I have ever lived and I can't wait to move. Get out while you can

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason Vorhees

      Beacuse the aologists for the killer don't care about the policeman who was murdered, To them, he was just a white cop, and had it coming.

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

      I think you wrongly assume that everyone sees everything as black and white as you do.

      Consider for a moment that someone else might have an opinion that is different from yours, and that they might be correct.

      You may see the world in a new light.

      Or you could continue to whitewash everything you see in terms of right and wrong.

      You could walk your entire life not thinking of other possibilities.

      If this is your choice, I weep for you, and those that you touch.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • MagicBishop

      Deepest condolences to the officer and his family. However the interest in this particular story lies within the moral fabric of the courtry's origins. Injustice should not be tolerated in any society.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Mel

      Actually they did mention the family. The mother wasnt going to be at the execution, but she wanted to know why they delayed his death. The widow also wanted to know why he wasnt being put to death at 7:00pm, and basically thats all they had to say. Sorry the family didnt have more to say except they just wanted him dead.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Yes. The victim's family, not to mention the victim himself, experienced suffering. And that suffering goes on. But if Georgia just put to death an innocent man, doesn't his family suffer too? There was reasonable doubt after the fact. Recanted testimonies. I've volunteered in a maximum security prison and the men with whom I worked and spoke had no problems admitting what they've done, murder or otherwise. Truly, the death penalty doesn't serve the evolution of our humanity and societies well. In 2011, it feels archaic. Studies show that even in cut and dry cases where there is no doubt of guilt, the victim's family walks away continuing to feel, to a certain degree, empty and with a great sense of loss for their loved one; watching another human being be put to death does not bring the ultimate relief and healing so desperately sought. As difficult as it is - and sometimes it seems impossible (and is indeed impossible in the moment and for many days and years to come) - working toward forgiveness, even with the most minute steps, is the only path to healing.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. Maggie

    I have been following this story and am utterly disappointed at how it has turned out. Stunned and sad, in fact. There is so much doubt in this case. This is a human life. I hope the people who decided on this man's final fate tonight knew full well that it's not a decision they can make that is good enough for now and they can think more about it later when they have more time. Don't most Americans pride themselves as Christians? Looking at the list of states with the death penalty, aren't they the ones with the most citizens who are "church-goers"? Shouldn't these same "God-fearing" citizens stop playing God themselves in deciding who should live or die? How many times have American's called other countries "barbaric". How is this different when there is so much doubt? Still shaking my head...

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MagicBishop

    Beyond a reasonable doubt? It would appear this case fails to meet that criteria given multiple witness recants. This case should not have gotten pass the first appellate court. Who's electing these judges?

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sara

    I am for the death penalty...however, I believe that There MUST be an ABSOLUTE provided by the evidence that a person is merited of death. This is NOT to be done with the flimsy evidence and the recantation of so many witnesses.

    Please go to the Time Magazine site and read the many names of innocents that sat on death row for years proclaiming their innocence and was fnally exoerated by the courage of "smart" college students that believe Truth is mighty important. Obviously, this is not important in this case. Again, I was shocked and disgusted by the thought that killing someone will bring you peace and closure. Living with a revengeful heart for 22 years must be painful and the pain will continue.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CG

    I am a firm believer in justice. But I am reading a lot of comments about "you People" and I am saying to myself there is only one race the HUMAN RACE. Wake up. And if we as americans think that every person in jail is guilty,,,,you are a fool. There are tons of innocent people convicted everyday in this country. When someone loses a love one, they want comfort from their pain, not justice. Race card my eye, it is a historical and statistical fact (recorded by white people) that african americans are prosecuted unjustly more than any other race in this country. True some people are gulity but not everyone. If Troy Davis was a white man this post would not have as nearly as many comments. Remember that African Americans did not ask to come this country and when white people found slavery to be no longer profitable the slaves were freed. But wait it gets better, then those same freed slave who had been stripped of their native langauges and cultures were not allow to read or write or learn for another 74 years. Yes that same racist mind set is still wriiten in our legal framework to this day. African-Amercian males are more likely to get sentenced to jail more than anyone else......strange but true. White people are still the highest recipiants of welfare but blacks are stereotype for that, white teenagers still have have the highest rate of shoplifting but blacks get stereotyped for that, wake up!

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

      So True, If I read another comment about blacks need to go back to their country.....OOOKKK you said, Africans didnt ask to be here. They were brought here as slaves when Europeans seen that they couldnt use Indians as slaves. So they took Africans from their natural habitat, used them, abused them. They were freed after the civil war, still had to fight for equal rights, and yes in todays society it is still an issue. Racial tensions are too high in this country, but to other countries we are all americans, why cant we get that point as a country, I am so sick of this country. I am a 28 year old black woman that really wants to see some type of change real soon, just plain tired of people being treated unfair in this country. And victims, Casey Anthony daughter, that dont get the justice they deserve

      September 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nelleh

    No HUMAN BEING should not have the right to tell another HUMAN BEING WHAT DAY AND TIME THEY'RE GOING TO DIE!!!...If a HUMAN BEING KILL another HUMAN BEING, they should given LIFE for taking a LIFE. But for someone to be given the the DEATH PENALTY is BASICALLY DOING THEM A FAVOR!!! Even so they should try to make the person BETTER then KILLING THEM!!!

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