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.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[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. Why no hate for the "liars" who put him there?

    Not one answer from those whom only a few minutes ago where so sure that the witness' whom had recanted their stories could prove Troy innocent. One, I say One, said they did not have proof, but other than that they have all shut up. JUST GOES TO PROVE WHOM THE MOST RACIST GROUP OF PEOPLE REALLY ARE IN THIS COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Citizen

    Cold Blooded Murder. The strong over the weak.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice was done!

      Yes, but fortunately we have laws, so that those who chose to behave in such fashion-Troy Davis, for example, who liked to shoot people and beat people-will be held accountable for their actions.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Go HomeNow

    O.K. now that it's finally over you supporters of a mur-der-er can get a pat on the butt and go home! No more DRAMA or THEATRICS for today and hopefully not any more ever again fighting so hard to save those convicted of Murder! You look so silly doing that, really you do but just don't have the good sense to realize it, knowing that NO ONE is going to listen to you. All you did was give this guy false hopes but he didn't even get to properly digest his last meal.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
    • "Justice was done!" is a moron

      No comment.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrew

    Did he kill another? Well, tonight someone definitely did...was it just, was it right, who knows...maybe he was innocent? maybe not. But we got an eye for an eye. Are we any better than Saudi Arabia who cuts off the hand of someone accused of, we aren't. Come ot to discuss this tragedy.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Concerned citizen

    United states of America:The future communist states of China. Enjoy learning Mandarin and building plastic toys you bunch of sheep.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Never fear, all us southern boys have guns out the ying yang and will support our troops and save you from the evil red swarm. Cause we got guns. Lots and lots of guns. Waitin on the riots. Locked and loaded.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Anonymous


    Let the MacPhails know how you really feel.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice was done!

      Here's one of those "compassionate" progressives revealing his true disgusting nature.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Hey, if they are morally comfortable with their decision to kill an innocent man, they should be okay with chatting about it.
      Don't be mad bro.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. European

    Even if he was guilty, he didn't deserve death penalty, did he ? Killing somebody who killed another is wrong and you americans know that. Did you give him his life to take it ? Well, if he was evil, people who signed his death penalty are evil too. We europeans believe death penalty is simply a medieval revenge, that's why we abolished it. Not to mention the cost of an execution is much more than puting him in a jail forever. And not to mention also that states with no death penalty have lower murder/homicide rate than the others.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  8. Nun but the truth


    September 22, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  9. ensa

    God knows the truth,we are human it can happen to anyone lets not judge. Sometimes we put wrong people into death not knowing, may be he was one of them. Let pray for him as humans not animal. RIP

    September 22, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  10. Allisright

    Justice was served. He won't have the opportunity to murder, or attempt to murder, yet a third officer. He had more than his fair share of chances to prove he didn't commit the crime. The majority of persons executed in United States history have been white. The race card doesn't work here. It is never cause to celebrate when a person is executed. God save his soul. And for the officer's family... God bless them. They are the real innocent victims. I hope they can finally have peace.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • john smith

      I hope somebody fire bombs the house of the cop's family and kills everyone inside. Would serve them right.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      You're obviously a troll

      September 22, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Augusto

    Giving people the death penalty won't solve any problems. The US, along with Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Yemen are the countries with the highest numbers of death penalties. What has this solved? The US still has the biggest homicide rate among industrialized nations. Five times higher than countries such as Germany, Spain or Italy. Maybe the problem is with how children are being brought up in this country and the values of this society. The greatest resources should be put on prevention and not in punishment.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      So true

      September 22, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Unpleasant Facts

      The US homicide rate is grossly skewed by the actions of one demographic group: Black men.

      Black males make up a small fraction of the US polulation-about 7%-but commit OVER HALF of all the murders in the US.

      The homicide rate in US states with primarily European-descended populations-places like Vermont for example-are as low or even lower than in Europe. Vermont, for example, having a murder rate of 1.1 per 100,000 people, below even the UK's 1.7 per 100,000 people. And despite Vermont having almost no gun control laws.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Allisright

      Prevention is only possible through truth and accountability. I don't see much of this anywhere.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • PC

      Ofcoz you think it does nothing good. It is not for you or the rest of the world, it for the victim and his families. It's fair now.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
    • tj

      Augusto – You need to do your research. The rate young Black males are incarcerated,compared to whites, is an attribution to systemic hate & racialism in this country. In fact there were/are lawrs that young black men. How do you explain justice for young black males in jail caught using crack vs young white males using cocaine? The blacks were traditionally given 10yrs while the white kid gets 2yrs – and a bonus to rehab if his parents are rich?

      September 22, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
    • dakota

      The government murdered a harmless man tonight.
      Peaceful Revolution is the only solution.
      Revolution to topple wall street.
      Revolution to restore the dignity of the working man.
      Revolution to make the rich pay their fare share of taxes.
      Revolution to make everyone share equally in defending this country, not just the 1% who take 100% of the bullets.
      Revolution to stop the government from lining the pockets of the wealthy with hard earned tax dollar.s
      Thomas Jefferson proposed a revolution every 20 years. I think we are overdue.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Allisright

      I have to believe the majority of people that have bought the story of "doubt" in this case are either anti-death penality activists that want to believe it, or folks that have done absolutely no research into the real facts of this case. Sadly, all in all, this was a bad guy. He was a violent walking nightmare. This officer wasn't the first one he shot and he didn't limit his violence to police officers either. What is stupid is that only in America could such a cold, murderous, sociopath be glorified in the way this guy has been. That's the real injustice here.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Unpleasant Facts

      The rate at which young Black men are arrested and convicted is directly related to the rate at which they commit crimes. The "Black community" tries to blame this on "racism" but the reality is that it is largely Blacks who are the victims of Black criminals.

      OVER HALF of all murderers in the US are Black men. Most of their VICTIMS are also Black.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I bet these animals recant too.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Darryl

    If the truth comes that he was not guilty, My question is what then how do you bring him back. If there was any doubt they should have waited. Seeing that so many people saw his innocents all they needed to do was present factual evidence. Why wait 22 years he he was guilty.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. john smith

    This is a digusting travesty of justice. Innocent man put to death. We have never had such a clear case of reasonable doubt in this country where the person was still exectued. Makes me sick to my stomach. All those people who say "well he went at it for 20 years appeal after appeal, blah, blah" need to read the story of Randy Steidl. He also had appeal after appeal denied "everybody looked at the case" blah, blah and finally it was revealed that the witness testimony was bogus and he was finally released just a short time from being executed. THERE WAS NO HARD EVIDENCE and the case was falling apart so they decided to "hurry up and kill him". What a shame on this country.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Allisright

      You make a good point. If he had been executed after the first time he shot an officer, we wouldn't have gone through years and years of non-sense over this case.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      So, you were on the jury that saw "beyond any reasonable doubt" that he was guilty, and so guilty that he should die for his crime. Oh, no? You weren't on the jury. Then shut up.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. To the Point

    Casey anthony kills her daughter. She gets aquited of all charges due to reasonable doubt. Troy Davis ALLEGEDLY murders a cop. Easily a Life in prison if convicted right? Where did the death penalty come into play? Was the reason racial and introduced because the cop was white? 7 out of 12 witnesses recant their story and say the police coerced them. I beleive it. Those swine were trying to avenge thier fellow cop by convicting a INNOCENT black man for murder. Meanwhile Casey anthony kills her daughter in cold blood, gets aquited for lack of evidence and is slated to make millions off it? What a joke the US justice system is.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice was Done!

      Nothing "alleged" here.

      Troy Davis was identified by multiple witnesses.

      Troy Davis' gun fired the fatal shots into Mark McPhail, just as Troy Davis' gun was used to shoot a man at a party that very same evening.

      Troy Davis was GUILTY and he FINALLY paid for his crimes.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Mr.Lee

      Let not the death of this beautiful brother be in vain.Amen.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175