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.”

[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. Effinheimer

    Guilty or not, this is barbaric and the entire civilized world knows it. If he is guilty, let him serve life without the possibility of parole. He would never be free harm anyone else and we, as a society, would not have to stoop to this level of cruelty.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Hector

      So, then we put every single murderer in jail till they are dead through the system? Either way, its the same thing. They died at the hands of the govt. And do you really want to pay extra to have more jails with more prisoners on "death row" without parole? Get your priorities straight. Jails are full, people are getting released. The majority of the population wants to keep the Death Penalty and I agree with them. It helps overcrowding in jails, prevents people from getting free and doing it again. And we dont have to pay for their food for 30-40 years.

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

      I agree but then no different than the histories that's before this one. This is who we are and what we have been manipulated into being. Better wake up people.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • KT

      Let me clarify...than the FALSE HISTORIES that have preceeded the one that we are now living.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. Libertyforall

    The only travesty is him getting 20 plus years of life after killing another person. The death penalty is meant to be a deterent. This is too long.Kill them in 5 years and then it will work better. By the way how did the slain officers blood get on his clothes?. I will tell you it is because after shooting him once he came back and finished him off with a shot to the head.
    If I was the officer's family and heard his last words I would have replied "Lier Lier pants about to be on fire."

    September 22, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • russinmaine

      The system most definitely needs to be overhauled to eliminate the ability of defense lawyers to simply play a game of delay, delay, delay for 20 years at the taxpayers expense knowing full well that this is all that they are doing in the interest of a political and ideological agenda. Then they are first in line to decry the cost of prosecuting cases for the death penalty, pure hypocrisy at its finest!!

      September 22, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. russinmaine

    Why all the clamour of a man on deathrow facing the executioner saying "I didn't do it?" If someone took the time to research the issue you will find that this has been a fairly common occurance over the years in cases of individuals being readied to meet their maker. Saying "I didn't do it", does not suddenly make one innocent nor refute everything that brought them to this place in time.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. steiger

    Virtually all criminals claim they are innocent. This case was appealed for twenty some years and the conclusion was always the same. He was tried, convicted and justice prevailed.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Martin

      Our justice system is far from perfect and for that reason the death penalty is too perfect, too absolute, and too final.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Georgia Racist

    I live in Georgia this is one racist state against people of color. Troy Davis we love you and we know that you are innocent. It sad to see US Sepreme Court gave permission to kill a innocent man and whoever put Troy Davis to death will answer to mighty God. This is the first time I can say that I dont like the counrty I was born. I was in Troy Davis shoes in Chicago 1990 the age of 19 was accuse of a crime that I didnt commit but because I was and my family is poor so I didnt have money for a good lawyer to show the court I was innocent. I know how it feel to fight against all odds.

    May Troy Davis rest in peace.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
    • babyg0621

      I totally agree!

      September 22, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. No Justice in America

    The Tea Party is cheering that another black man is dead.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. AzizLight

    Listen to Reba McEntire's "The Night the lights went out in Georgia".

    September 22, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Pumbaa

    This was a State sponsored murder. Shame on the Supreme Court for not ruling that capital punishment is illegal.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. babyg0621

    I dont understand, there are people who murder multiple times and dont get the death penalty... With witnesses recanting thier testimony, and the court he was found guilty in looking more like a kangaroo court, it is shameful and the justice system should be re-evaluated...Especially in these backward states. Think race never played an issue in this in GA? I am white and from the south...I know it did! They should have re-investigated so not to become what they say they hate, murderers.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Mr. Alibi

    Educate me in this case, what is his Alibi? Everyone should have account of where you are and what you are doing pretty much all the time. What was his Alibi?

    September 22, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • elsa

      No alibi – he was there, but says he didn't fire the gun, even though witnesses say he did.

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

      Oh, and I thought I heard he had shot someone in the face before this.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      Does anyone know this fine mans history with the law before he killed a cop? I'm betting he was not the great human being some make him out to be! Anyone know??

      September 22, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Linda

    Absolutely barbaric!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      I agree! Shooting a man in the face then killing a cop is VERY barbaric! No doubt! Good call!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jll

    @blue, you are not nice.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gary

    When we blindly support convicted individuals without taking the time to read the facts of their cases, we make it difficult to prove the innocence of individuals wrongly convicted of crimes. The truth is out just have to search for it. Get off the bandwagon and read!!!

    And as for abolishing the death penalty...Capitol Punishment should be spared for the individuals convicted of the most heinous crimes. Wouldn't you say that shooting an officer repeatedly while they're down is pretty reprehensible?

    September 22, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • janbo

      Wouldn't you also say if there was even a remote possibility that the person is not guilty that the execution should not go through?

      7 of 9 witnesses have recanted or changed their stories and one has said another man told her he did but didn't want to come forward because he had children to raise and this gentleman didn't.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • elizabeth

      Of course someone's statements would be different some 20 years later, when asking them to recall something. Where were the attorneys or supportes before and why weren't they pointing out these inconsistencies earlier? They, both supporters and the alleged inconsistencies, probably didn't exist before the media and celebrities got involved.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. Truth Teller

    Any American that thinks theres fairness in this country is Stupid.

    This country is controled by Evil Lieing ,Frauds, in business suits.
    The judges and lawyers are illuminatti ocultist.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. John Ruskin

    The people on the Left are amazing.
    They'll fight tooth and nail to allow the extermination of unborn human babies...yet when a 35 or 40 year old man kills a cop or massacres small children, they will hold vigils to spare his life.
    The life of a killer is precious.
    The life of a baby is expendable.

    When did the Left enter bizzaro world?

    September 22, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      WOW! Nicely put! Appearently the unborn baby is automatically guilty, with no trial or anythying! Talk about a conspiracy! But the man who was found guilty isn't. Oh, I get it, they live not in bizzaro world but in opposite land! Well, good luck in opposite land cause us decent people who live in present land scored a victory yesterday!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • MMeans

      I'm on the "left" and I feel zero sympathy for Davis. Had he interevened in the initial attack on the homeless man, maybe both of them would be alive

      September 22, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • MMeans

      And it's also curious how the "right" defends unborn babies, screams about God, yet dramatically supports: the death penalty, cigarettes, guns, and war. Says that the government should never intervene, yet should ban what women do with their bodies, monitor phone calls, give welfare to corporations, and so on.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      I think you miss the point entirely...7 people recanted testimony. Many people have been set free in recent years on DNA evidence when they could have been executed for a crime they did not commit. It is better to err on the side of clemency where there is no absolute proof. We may never know the absolute truth. If it were your son who could be potentially wrongly executed....

      September 22, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      Mmeans, I do not support the death penalty. I support carrying out the orders given by the jury and the court. In this case, they felt death was the payment owed. So the balance was due!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      No, you miss the point. Two witnesses did not change their mind! And neither did the courts, all the way to the supreme court. Who gives a rats @ss about what 7 people, who 2 years later, change thier story? This happened 20 years ago..they testified 20 years ago. He got what he deserved.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Ingrid Boopull

      Your comments are ridiculous! You're comparing a goop of cells in a woman's uterus to a living breathing human being, who may very well be innocent? Really????!!!!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      HMMM....a group of cells? Our recent group of cells amazingly had a heartbeat at about 2 months...weird. He also had what could be taken as arms and legs..HMM. Seemed like a living bieng to us and since he never killed any cops, we went ahead and let him stay and lo-and-behold! We have a beautiful baby boy! See, those cells ARE living and really are innocent! Where as mr. daivs was not!

      September 22, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      and oh, i forgot.....those cells are living and really are innocent where as mr. daivs is neither! LOL

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