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. dave richman

    Well lets hope we had the right guy. If we did, he got what he deserved.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  2. yeltzin

    It was either him or his accomplice, who should in fact be on death row himself. His accomplice fingered him and witness testimony backed his story. That witness testimony wouldn't have forthcoming at all were it not obvious that one of 2 blk men did it simply because blks are reluctant to report blks to [police or even blk on blk crime. If those recanting witnesses really want to prove their veracity to the world all they need to do is take polygraph tests. The tests cannot be used against them. but if their claims are true then people around the world would be outraged. Nothing bad can come of such tests – after all they are already claiming to have perjured themselves. It seems that even if troy davis was an unwilling accomplice he would have shown some remorse for the victims family over the last 20 years.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  3. rep

    everyone ever executed was guilty. except the ones who weren't.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Trina

    Reading through many comments I only notice people stating that the eyewitnesses testimonies were filled with doubt.
    However, I have not yet heard anyone state toward the science of the case. Forensics, prints hard science facts. DNA tests. I realized more than 20 years have past. What kind of investigating were the Troys doing. I feel if you honestly feel a member of your family is innocent then you would be doing everything in your power to find out the truth. Which will give closure to both parties. Who interagates the police officers or question their testimonies due to their emotional attachment to their fallen soldier. We all know cops hate cop killers even if that person might be innocent. once you are suspected of being you are and their is nothing that will change their way of thinking and they stick together no matter what. "Innocent until proven guilty beyond a resonable doubt" I believe this saying should be changed to " Guilty until proven innocent of all claims against you". Whether the Justice system needs to be changed or the Judges I can not say . However, the way a jurior is picked or screened to suit each party needs to be looked over carefully. I have experience being on jury duty. Many who were their either were happy to be off of work of didn't want to be there from the beginning. Thus, causing a hung jury or let's hurry up and get this over with.
    They say America is an united nation however, each State seems to be a country all of it's own. Each State has it's own law and many people are not aware of the do's and don'ts of all 50 plus states. How or why did Georgia become a State that agrees to the death penalty whereas other States are totally against it. America needs to unite a little bit more. As one commenter stated" So sick of the race card all the freaking time". Very interesting wish many thought like that or is it many do. I believe race had nothing to do with it. I believe it was more or less an open and shut case for the Judicial system. 20 yrs ago they said he did it at that time the eye witnesses were believed. If the witnesses were forced to make such statements by the police 20 years ago then the witnesses should have been at the court house sending the appeal with Mr. Troy's lawyer....
    If a person is truly innocent then a charity or a law should be past in order to prevent such injustice from happening an bill should be passed and can only be used by (a) person who is inprisoned and their case is without a doubt surrounded by resonable doubt and they are on death row. This charity would fund both parties because both parties are victims. Finding out the truth is the common goal of both parties.

    The way humanity plays with the lives of others are taken too lightly.
    We should not judge if we ourselves do not want to be.
    I am a born and raised American, but it took leaving and living in another country to see America the Whole
    this makes me love and wonder about my HOMELAND.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:06 am | Report abuse |
    • André

      too long; didnt read

      September 22, 2011 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Really?

    The only doubt was created by his attorneys over 20 years as has been proven over and over by the muliple appeals, guilty every time. Physical evidence: the police oficer was shot by the same .32 cal. pistol that Davis admitted he shot a guy in the face with earlier. Davis' friend said he witnessed him shoot the officer in the chest then stand over him and shoot him in the head. People need to be resposible for their actions. Do you not know if you murder someone in cold blood that there is a good chance that you may be put to sleep? Im sure Davis knew this before he pulled the trigger. After all his nickname was RAH (rough as hell).

    September 22, 2011 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Mmmmm

    Mmm...we're not a third world country lacking the means and capability of providing lifetime incarceration SO THE DEATH PENALTY SHOULD BE A RARE OCCURRENCE. Now being that said, the supreme court is a death squad and has been so for sometime for the lifetime panelists cannot reconized the innocent and the life in womb. They are also killers of family in attempts to redefine marriage
    and destroyers of societies when they removed moral component and the Judiac-Christain God. They rip strong longstanding fabric of society to sew on cheap

    September 22, 2011 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jaqualandence

    I am the only black person who thinks he guilty. Its like when obama got elected. Blacks voted for him just cause he has some black in him. And look how thats working out. Black people keep fighting just cause he black.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  8. Reform the Justice system

    This is why eyewitness testimony should not be admissible in court proceedings. Most of the time these people are wrong. Look at what happened to Ronald Cotton and Darryl Hunt. The prosecution relied on eyewitness testimony and these two were exonerated decades later after DNA testing confirmed they did not commit the crime. Also, look how many innocent people in Texas have been killed or jailed for crimes they did not do. Things need to change.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. midnightrambler444

    Of course he maintained his innocence. It would have been profoundly disappointing to all that worked so hard to save him if he confessed.

    He said he didn't carry a gun that night. Is everyone saying there's not a chance he didn't have that night confused with another? Think about it. If you've never carried a gun to McDonald's, it's less confusing.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. marie

    I am appauled GA went through with this! The Death Penalty MUST be stopped! Why are we killing people for this when he could be innocent. As for the mother of the police officer, I am appauled that you need this to be over to make you feel better. I really am. I have not followed this case alot, but my God if people recanted they should not go forward with this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 22, 2011 at 6:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Salbei


      September 22, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
    • ShakinHead

      Thank God this thug is gone and we don't have to see his face splashed all over the news again next year like we did this time, and in 2007 and in 2008 and in 2009 when the broken judicial system allowed all those RIDICULOUS delays.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • miden

      Free Palestina!!!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      I just hope he was guilty, I pray that a innocent man was not put to death. State sanctioned murder in 2011 make me sad, are we still this barbaric.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Marty mcfly

    Bon voyage Troy boy. Say hi to Tookie for me. With luck, Mumia will join you shortly!

    September 22, 2011 at 6:36 am | Report abuse |
    • digusted99

      Hey Marty McFly.... let's hope one day he greets you too, a**wipe. Gotta love America though. Now we don't have to be 100% sure that a guy/gal is guilty. Physical evidence? Don't need it. The cops can coerce people to lie if they THINK they have the right guy. All hail justice!

      September 22, 2011 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
    • ShakinHead

      Yo-disgusted– You're just repeating what you hear on TV and read in the press. Stop saying there was no evidence. It makes you sound stupid. The evidence was heard in a court of law. The appeals process, although very highly abused in this case, ran its course. It should have taken 2 years, though, not 2 decades.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  12. timestickin

    He had it in his mind he was innocent cause he had 20 yrs to to justify it in his mind... He's cooked and he was guilty and he's "gone"......

    September 22, 2011 at 6:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Guilty Liar

      The evidence doesnt support his guilt

      September 22, 2011 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
  13. Kathy

    How do you anti death penalty folks out there feel about the execution last nite of the white supremacist that killed a black man by dragging him behind his car? Just wondering if you're consistent in your beliefs or are typical leftist hypocrites.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:54 am | Report abuse |
    • P. Melark

      It's such a waste to kill the two individuals here. Why not just put them in an enclosed outdoor arena and let them hunt each other to the death. Heck, lets get all the death row inmates in the US (At first at least) and let's let them fight it out until one person is left standing. Frankly, chances are that one person won't be harmed is nil. So, they will likely be injured and broken enough where they could never kill again. So, that one person gets to go free. Put it up on live television and let Vegas take bets. This would be the #1 program (after NASCAR) for all you people who love state sponsored murder.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Martha FawCurr

    Bout time, wasted 20 years of tax payers moolah waitin to give this sucka what he was due. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

    September 22, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Anonymous


    September 22, 2011 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
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