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. TMACK

    Their message to us in this month of September 2011: "Execute the poor, let those without healthcare die in the streets, dont tax us, tax the poor instead else we declare Class Warfare on YOU!" Go ahead and vote those Republicans into office, it will only speed the looming confrontation.

    September 22, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Whome

      I'm sorry.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dudley Sharp

    Smoke and mirroirs: Troy Davis campaign

    That is what the federal judge called Davis' claims, after the hearing he conducted, by order of the US Supreme Court.

    Put another way, it was just another anti death penalty public campaign of deception, as reviewed, below.

    Troy Davis: Worldwide anti death penalty deceptions, rightly, failed

    Innocence Deceptions and the Anti Death Penalty Movement
    Dudley Sharp,

    The false innocence claims by anti death penalty activists are a legendary part of their strategy.

    1) Troy Davis: Misleading anti death penalty campaign

    2) "The Innocent Executed: Deception & Death Penalty Opponents"–death-penalty-opponents–draft.aspx

    3) The 130 (now 138) death row "innocents" scam

    4) Sister Helen Prejean & the death penalty: A Critical Review"–the-death-penalty-a-critical-review.aspx

    5) "At the Death House Door" Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?"

    6) "Cameron Todd Willingham: Another Media Meltdown", A Collection of Articles

    September 22, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sean

    I think after 22 YEARS and the evidence and testimonies still holding up, along with even his mother saying he's guilty is a fair bet to say he's guilty. If he was rich and got off, doesn't make him less guilty, just points to one of many flaws in the legal system. Why are we spending $$$ to keep convicted killers like this in jail with all the food, water, medicine they could ever use, and yet innocent men, women and children die each year in our country from not having those things? Time to get our priorities straight, if you are convicted of killing someone and can't prove otherwise even after 5 years of appeals, let God judge them (just like the Crusaders did) and put all those other decades of money toward helping the innocent.

    September 22, 2011 at 8:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ralph

    I do support the death penalty. But not to the way it seems to be used here. If there isn't concrete evidence to the crime, and I mean physical, the death penalty should not be used. Witnesses have a tendency to not be able to tell the truth. Or they tell what they thought they saw. An old adage is to believe only 1/2 of what one sees.
    Gathering physical evidence is the responsibility of our law enforcement. Problem I have with them is their skill level. I want to believe that there is a lot of good skills within these departments. But there is also a lack of skills by many in there. My faith in our judicial and law enforcement has dropped immensely. And just maybe some of that is due to work ethics which has to be lower and lower in the coming of each new generation. That includes management skills also.
    On the other side of the coin. People are not willing to accept their own responsibilities for their actions. What I would like to know in this particular case. Was Mr Davis carrying a gun when shooting occurred. Myself I have witnessed many of these younger people carrying weapons. WHy do they do that? Those of you out there who are so concerned over his execution. Help those who are still living today. Discourage the individuals from feeling that they have to carry. I for one would feel safer. To be shot as an individual who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time doesn't appeal to me. Let's everyone work at being a better citizen

    September 22, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Whome

    Think of the money the government would save if they would put these dogs down that have been sitting on death row for years. One and done, (one trial, one appeal, you lose your gone).

    September 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dan

    " He said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun"
    "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

    These don't sound like a plea of innocence, these sound like an admission of involvement...which only makes you slightly less guilty of the actual killings, but guilty nonetheless

    September 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. Doc

    One Black and one White murderer were put to death, one in Georgia the other in Texas. Black man killed a White cop, White man killed a Black man. Both were convicted in court by a jury of their peers, both were sentenced to death. Both had appeals, both were denied as there was no evidence to rule otherwise. The only problem I have with this, is why a black killer is being turned into a folk hero for killing a cop and there is barely a mention on the white killer? Both deserved execution.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. askmehow

    How could the U.S. Supreme Court allow the evidence presented before the judge and jury by a ballistic expert who never had a weapon to examine. No positive identification of a weapon means without the weapon the evidence cannot be compared. You would never see a forensic anthropologist testify about a corpse that's not even found. Troy didn't have a gun. Who's lying?

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

    Where were all these supporters the past 18 years while he was rotting in jail on death row? they only wait until the punishment, that he was given long, long ago was about to happen to crawl out of the woodwork in "support". If they really CARED about HIM they would have been protesting right from the start. If all the people crying and complaining were so certain he was innocent, wasn't rotting in jail the rest of his life bad too? Shouldnt they have been chanting, protesting, crying, etc this entire time?????????

    September 22, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • askmehow

      Debbie here is where you can find some of their names 2011 Top Ten CNN Heroes. This is what they were doing. The names you find listed here and the names of all the unsung heroes will be listed together. Because they cared.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. steve

    should have occurred a long time ago
    that filth was guilty and he got what he deserved. we need more of this on a daily basis to clean out the vermin that believes in violence!

    September 22, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Dixie

      So sad for you!

      September 22, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Ghandi Failed

      Its a shame to know that, if this guy were white, he would have likely gotten convicted only of negligent use of a firearm. I'm not saying he was innocent but the state's case has holes in it and, had he been tried anywhere else, it is likely that he would still be alive wasting tax dollars in prison. While I support the death penalty, I also support a fair trial. This guy definitely did not get that.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      You think anyone who believes in violence should be executed?
      Well I hope for your sake this never happens.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Chartreuxe

      Steve, you have no idea what you're talking about. Seven of nine eyewitnesses recanted their testimony and the police poisoned the fruit of the tree of the witnesses with their handling of the photos in evidence of this man.

      There are those who care about justice rather than killing a random scapegoat.

      September 22, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Gray Wolf

    The day of purification is upon us.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • policedad

      Nothing like an execution to bring out the lunatics.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  12. Cleopatra

    CNN has taken a poll on should we abolish the death penalty:
    64% say no
    36% say yes
    I thought we had more Christians in this country. More people who claim they follow Jesus' teachings. By the look of it, people are claiming religion and would kill Jesus in a heart beat today.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark of Tennessee

      Sad but true

      September 22, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark of Arkansas

      What did Jesus do that would require the death penalty under today's laws?

      September 22, 2011 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |

    Um tôi cũng thấy vậy, có lẽ anh ta thực sự không có tội,
    Vào xem Clip hay, phim hay, video hay,,

    September 22, 2011 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Troysguilty

      No sh!t ???????

      September 22, 2011 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Troysguilty

    "I did not have a gun". What that you were using to pistol whip a homeless guy with?

    September 22, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Topaz


    September 22, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
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