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

Troy Davis put to death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[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. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Right Wing Insanity"

    As for most of the rest of the 5900 people here, unfortunatly there probably will never be a dissection of this case, and Savannahs legal system.
    As for most folk the way Davis was accused, tried, convicted, executed. was a little lengthy but sufficient.
    If Davis was innocent, the Statute of Limitations never runs out for murder, execpt for Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court, where the case is a done deal. I'm sure they'd be very suprised if someone came along, and proved he really
    was innocent. That now is just a pipe dream at best. You'll have a lifetime in front of you to sort it out.
    The flip side is this. If Davis' mental state was such that he just played the "I'm innocent" card, just to play on America's emotions, when in fact he was a nut case, I'm satisfied justice was served.
    No. Georgia or anywhere else for that matter, "should ever" consider themselves "above the law", when considering trying an individual for such a serious crime, to assure thier guilty, solely based on race, color or creed.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. moto199

    Another prisoner that doesn’t want to take responsibility of his actions. Justice has been served needs to be a lot more executions to make this place a lot safer. If we had weekly hanging in the town square the economy would be better and we wouldn’t be in debt.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. chillipepper

    Theres alot of people that get caught red handed that will look you straight in the eye and deny deny deny and never give in. They have been taught at a early age that if you do that you canactually brainwash others into believing you.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Miller

    The D.O.J. is R.A.H. you D.O.A. P.O.S.!

    September 22, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ben

    Can we all forget this now, he is dead. Lets all have a great day and forget the guy. No sense crying over spilled milk.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |


    September 22, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Nancy

    We should round up his whole family and put them to death as they are responsible for bringing Troy into the world. They need to be taught a lesson for that mistake.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • It doesn't Matter

      How about we do one better. Let's round up every simple minded individual here on this message board who are all obviously all seeing and all knowing and put them in a garage with a running 1970 Chevy Impala and shut the door. GO TO SLEEP! Maybe then there can be some intellingent debate over whether this man or any "assumed" wrongly accused individuals are actually innocent or not. There is a reason the Justice System is call just that. It is a SYSTEM people with the fundamental aim for bringing JUSTICE. And we all know that from time to time SYSTEMS FAIL! The sad truth is that if this man was innocent then everyone of you who celebrate this man's death is heaping hot coals on your heads. If the man was guilty who among any of us can say he got all he deserved.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Right Wing Insanity"

    As you can tell, I don't know everything about the law. But did you know, that in most states if you own a handgun, or a any type of weapon, and someone breaks into your house to threaten and steal your property, and you go kill that individual (not self-defense), and they die off your property, you will be charged with manslaughter?

    September 22, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. volksmaniac

    Hey , CNN , can we move on to another story please ? There has to be another event that should be written about that doesn't involve a dead man . Move along , there's nothing to see here .

    September 22, 2011 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  10. Troysguilty

    Everytime I read this story the theme song from Sanford and Son pops into my head....Make it stop.

    September 22, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      It will never stop until you stop being an idiot, and that will only happen when you join Mr. Davis in another world. That won't do you any good, but this world will probably be better for it.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Wixo

    The only one who can defend one's innocence, is you! Be prepared to die, doing so!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. truth hurts

    Those neanderthals(the macphail family) couldnt learn forgivness in 22 years wheather davis was guilty or not..They say they want davis's family to suffer like they suffer, and that killing troy will bring them peace, but i dont think that will be the case. davis's family know in their heart that he was innocent. they are not suffering; they will rejoyce that Troy is going home to be with the lord. victory is his. as for the macphails they will not get the peace the say the will have because a heart filled with vengence and cries for long suffering will NEVER be at peace..everytime they hear troy's name their heart will be filled with hate, and that's not peace. they are a vile family, and god will judge their hearts, and find them unclean. vengence is mine said the lord.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • truth hurts

      *they will not get the peace that they say they will have*

      September 22, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • russinmaine

      Neandrathals huh? Which side has a (or had) a cold blooded killer among their ranks? That behavior seems far more closely related to the Neanderthal to me!

      September 22, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • deborah

      Im saddened at what happened yesterday especially in the Bible belt praying for both families now that have a loss I achope the family doesnt give up till they find out what really happened that night, I have an aunt that disappeared in New Jersy back in the 70's no one ever found out what happened police station flooded and they loss all records and the investigators office /attornys office had fire lost all records anyhow my point is my mothers siisters killer is still out there too and I really believe it would give family peace to know who did it .all her sisters have gone through a lot in the years from depression . I believe it was this traumatic experience anyhow I don't believe Troy should have been puit to death it makes me sick what they did executing him when there was possibility of his innocence

      September 22, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      I'm happy to know that you could forgive someone who murdered your child, I am not that kind of person! You can mess with me, that's O.K., but I cannot take anyone messing with my children.he got what he deserved! I cannot believe there are so many people defending this cop killer! MORONS!

      September 22, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      BMan, I think it's less that they're defending a cop killer and more that they believe he didn't do it. The evidence against him shouldn't shouldn't have been enough for him to lose a civil suit, never mind a conviction and certainly it wasn't enough for the death penalty.
      Whether he did it or not will never be known, but it was a serious miscarriage of justice that he was executed.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      Steve, the justice system works! He had 20 plus years to get his story out and be exonerated. It didn't work because HE IS GUILTY! It's not just me who said this. It is a jury and many many other appeals that said this. Am I to beleive it was a giant conspiracy to put him to death for a crime he didn't commit? Really? All the way to the supreme court? HUH? Wake up America! The only innocent person put to death was the cop he killed and now he has atoned for it. And don't come back with "7 out of 9 witnesses crap"...who cares? Let's concentrate on the fact that over 20 years has passed so they don't clearly remember and the fact that 2 witnesses did not change their story. Any death is sad, even his, if he made changes and became a better person, but he still had to pay for his mistake.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      You say the family should just get over the fact that Troy Davis murdered their father, brother, son, uncle, and nephew since they have had 22 years to do so? Well, Troy Davis and his family have had 22 years to apologize for committing the murder but that doesnt seem to have happened either..

      September 22, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  13. red

    Casey gets to walk free for killing her daughter.Figure that one out. No Justice at all.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
    • russinmaine

      One killer not convicted changes the justice of another being convicted exactly how?

      September 22, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      Yeah, let's just be thankful that the prosecutor and jury in the late troy davis's case were not as inept as the ones in Casey Anthony's case or he would have gotten away with murder as well.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Douglas Pippin

    It's unfortunate that no one was willing to delay the execution until the controversy was resolved to everyones satisfaction. However, the controversy seems to result from witnesses recanting which raises a question in my mind. They all testified under oath at the time of the trial, so, are they now admitting that they commited perjury at the time of the trial? If so, it seems they are responsible for the injustice if he was in fact inocent!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |

    IWhen I arrived home last night around 9:00, I was relieved to see that Mr. Davis was not executed – so many people were in his corner and Mr. Davis was still declaring his innocence. But on the 11:00 news, I heard that he was executed. There was not enough evidence to prove that he was guilty, but yet he was put to death anyway. How could the Justice System allow this to happen? Does the Justice System consist of people that do not have a conscious and everyone just goes along with the majority says in a situation such as this?

    September 22, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Libertyforall

      Perhaps you listen to the wrong news- MSM has a crusade to abolish the death penalty so doesn't list the evidence. Time to pick some more truthful source for your news or continue to be brainswashed into thinking this guy was innocent.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Kim Turner

      The JUSTICE system is not set up for JUSTICE for the us lowly people. The sooner you all figure that out, the sooner we can get down to understanding what our true purpose is for THEM! Listen up....FOR THEM. Do your research. Troy was one of many exceuted. His just so happens to be a public display of EVIL! However, the destruction and dismissal of how civil liberties is just the tip of the iceberg. THEY have no regard for humanity ie, every race, ethic group, nationality, religious choice, child, animal, tree, insect or stone! Trust what I say. Just think about it... The intent was to inflict emotional turmoil, division and hatred because the information that THEY had was no different in 2008 and any other time THEY postponed his stay of execution. The point being is that for THEM to disregard public outrage, ignore other factual accounts that have been brought forward and disregard requests of people in high places, what does that tell you...It says F–K You and every lowly body like you. This case is one in a million and one of a million that have been murdered by this great AMERICAN system we call the home. But as one would say, we should be thanklful for living in America...Fact of the matter is, its no different than living in any other 1st, 2nd or third country. We just get to make a public ass of ourselves in front of the world. Peace.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
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