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. Chad

    I love Sweden. You commit murder you receive 20 years in a rehabilitation center. Not a cage like you animals. Murder is so rare in Sweden that those convicted receive lenient sentences. 15 years max for 1st time offenders in a rehab center. And guess what? Thanks to the job programs, therapy and cozy environment, convicts really do become functioning members of society once released. Very little chance to reoffend. American prisons are a toilet compared to Sweden's professional rehabilitation centers. I'm glad I left the US. It is heaven here.

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

      How large of a black population do you have in Sweden?

      September 22, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice was Done!

      We are also glad you left the US, Chad.

      You're someone else's parasite now.

      So why don't you mind your own business?

      September 22, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Save Ferris

      We're glad you left too! It's really kinda like a win-win!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Boogie you blow your murderers in Sweden and we're're into

      September 22, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Why no hate for the "liars" who put him there?

    Say Marcus, do you think there will be a protest tomorrow to demand justice for the 7 liars whom let Troy Davis, an innocent man die?

    September 22, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sam

    Black people do not care whether he did it or not. Blacks only care that he should be able to do it and get away with it. It was the exact same way during the O.J. trials.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ruby M. Fletcher

    I looked at the mother of the officer that was killed, she didn't really look like she was pleased, seem to me that she had doubts. If he was dying anyway, he could have easily told her he did it and to forgive him. But, no he still said he was innocent of the crime, and hope they would one day find out who killed their son, father, and brother. He didn't have to say that. But, the people responsible will have to live with this, and also the person that really did the killing. He will eventually pay for the crime. Trust me. The mother is still not really at peace.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Save Ferris

      Ms. MacPhail says that she has been waiting for this – but your analysis of her facial expressions is very compelling. I'm totally going with you on this one! I have a bemused smirk on my face. Can you guess what I'm thinking right now?

      September 22, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Vicki

    I had almost fallen for the he is innocent crap til I did read about other evidence. He is just like every other person in prison, wasn't me. Sure. I know some innocent people have been wrongly convicted but he was not one of them. I hope the MacPhail family can FINALLY get their peace. The cop didn't getchance after chance to say why he deserved to live because this man chose to shoot him and smile about it. What goes around, comes around.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Hooligan

      the problem is while not everyone in prison is innocent there are and have been people who were indeed innocent and were indeed killed.

      Sorry but thats just the reality

      September 22, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. Richard L

    I have lost complete faith in our judicial system and in our country. Today at this very moment, I can honestly say I am ashamed to be a citizen of this country. Yet we can go and cry and ask for our citizens to be released in other countries but we can not give a fair chance to our citizens that are in this country right now. You have 7 of the 9 key eye witnesses who have said they lied on the stand and have retracted their own testimony, no physical evidence against the guy and this is not enough reasonable doubt or false testimony to re-open this case. America has failed and continues to fail at EVERYTHING!!!

    September 22, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sam

    Why aren't these posts listed in chronological order?

    September 22, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Dog Rancher

      Hey Sam I'm Black and agree with you and also that White guy in Texas.
      Let them burn in Hell together.. God bless America

      September 22, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Hooligan

      because CNN thinks it's more prudent to monitor and edit what people say as opposed to keeping their forum format running efficiently.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ruby M. Fletcher

    It sad that evey conversation has to have a racists overtone. When did we get to be the judge and juror. I am not saying whether he is guilty or innocent, I don't believe they prove it beyond a reasonal doubt. But all the negative and ugly statements are not calls for. People needs to at as adults, and make adults comments. Some children would respones better than I see some adults. I only pray for poeple that are not open minded and responsible for such negative comments. I would hate for some young person to read some of these comments.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. AJ

    Karma will get those clowns. Wait 20 years to recant your testimonies? You gave a man who was sent to die false hope with that bull crap. He was ready to die until all this media attention. It probally reignited his will to live, thus his numerous appeals to the deaf ears of Georgia's justice system.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mike

    Kill Kill Kill. Why does the remaining 1st world disagree with us????

    September 22, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Khalilah Sabra

      You tell yourself that justice will be served and that a man that has not been proven guilty of a crime, will be executed for it. You tell yourself that this country has learned lessons of a past that executed black men without proof of guilt. You wait for some kind of merciful intervention for a man that has unjustly served more than twenty years for the testimony of witnesses that have recanted.
      Later you hear that this man has been executed and you realized that justice is a facade for people of color, for the poor and whatever else society deems as expendable. Somebody had to be blamed for the officer's death. Some one pointed out Troy Davis and he became that man.

      What a gutless society. We owed this man more and look at what he got.
      The fact is Troy Davis never had a chance. He was not Casey Anthony. A black man accused of murder must be a killer, but a young white girl could not possibly murder her daughter. Why two very different standards of justice. When are black people going to be free of being judged by the color of their skin? Why is the color black automatically criminal or something less than good or pure? When is race going to cease to be a reason to compromise justice?
      Over a million voices went unheard tonight. If justice did not hear a million voices, what about the black man who has no one to speak for him?

      Khalilah Sabra
      Muslim American Society (MAS) Immigrant Justice Clinic

      September 22, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Invisible in America

    I understand why the protesters were chanting "We Are Try Davis". There is no voice left in this country for the average person – only the most selfish and loudest are heard. This makes me ashamed to be an American.... there was so much doubt in this case. What's the test of "reasonable" doubt when all the evidence is a group of witnesses – most of whom recanted? The forensic work that was done was sloppy – yet it meets a legal test.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard L

      Agree 100% with you, I myself i'm ashamed to be an amercian.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mike

    kill kill kill ..Why does the rest of the 'developed' world disagree?

    September 22, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      People in my country would love the death penalty brought back. It isn't a deterrent, it's a punishment.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:48 am | Report abuse |
  13. Richard L

    Our court system sucks!!! The average joe will never get a fair chance in the system! Lets be real people, if you got money your more than likely to get off or get a lesser punishment than anyone else. People who want to say "this is not true", then you must be blind. When will this sytem be appled to everyone equally?? Answer: Never

    September 22, 2011 at 1:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. John Doe

    I hope that slain cop's blood thirsty mother is satisfied now. Her son's real murderer is probally laughing out loud at her crocodile tears. Old vidictive bat.

    September 22, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice was Done!

      Another vicious liberal heard from.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Save Ferris

      It's "vindictive." I'm not usually a grammar police type guy, but you seem like such a mean spirited ass that I'm making an exception. Going after the victim's mother, of all people, seems like a particularly effective way of announcing to the world that you and your opinions are worthless.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Bart

      While I agree it might have been a blind-sided comment, it does hold a point. While I feel for any mother that had lost her son, it is a clear example of blind revenge and rage.

      September 22, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
    • M in Oz

      It's a clear example of crime and punishment. Why have any punishment at all if you are going to label them all "revenge" brought about by"vindictive" people..

      September 22, 2011 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. keef

    A cartoon about the Troy Davis tragedy:

    September 22, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice was Done!

      Self-promotion from a talentless racist. Now there's surprise.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
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