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. Bman

    QUESTION FOR ALL! I would like to ask all of the later troy davis's supporters a question. Do you honestly beleive that, even iif you have done nothing wrong. Have no arrest record, a truely great citizen, you could be arrested for a crime you did not commit and then sentenced and put to death? With a spotless record? No reason whatsoever for anyone to suspect you?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      Chirp chirp chirp! All I hear is crickets! I thought so! You know I am right! IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO GOOD HONEST PEOPLE WITH CLEAN RECORDS! You know it is true that the onlly truely innocent put ot death are unborn babies!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. MMeans

    Maybe you didn't kill him. But if you had done the right thing, been a man, and stood up to your friends that were beating a homeless man, maybe MacPhail wouldn't have interevened and you'd both be alive.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jay Oh

    1989!! thats when the crime occurred!? Isnt there a statute of limitations for these things? Our court system is whack! "You deserve to die, but not for another 20-25 years. Just enough time to change your life around and then snip! we'll cut the cord. Hows that sound?"

    September 22, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Justin

    On Aug 28, 1955 a black boy name Emmett Till was kidnapped, beaten beyond recognition & shot by two white men for supposedly whistling at a white woman were acquitted of all charges. Sept 15, 1963, 4 black little girls were killed by a bomb which was linked to four white men in Birmingham Alabama one Sunday morning before church service began, only 1 was tried then acquitted and was given a $100.00 fine. On August 19, 1989 a white police officer was shot and killed and a black man Troy Davis was tried, convicted, and sentence to death penalty with no physical evidence, corrupt confessions, and no weapon ever found. This is justice in America.

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

      I agree, justice was finally served. Our system like you described so well does work. I think what you're trying to say is if its not broken why fix it. Agreed!

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

      here you go, idiot....white person executed for killing a black man.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Darci

      Clay is right Justin. Watch this and you will learn that there is no prejudice here that God treats all races the same. That is what Clay needs you to know.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Sammy

      Just because Justin does not like little black kids does not make his point about justice being served as wrong.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • ToiletBug

      People like Justin, say what they say, then never ever engage in conversation to defend their original statement. He goes on and on with his implications that here in America the death penalty is unfairly applied to Black people. Yes, I said Black people. Someone accurately pointed out in the thread that Texas executed a White man, yes I said White, as I refuse to use the term Caucasian American. I was born here, not in the former Soviet countries which is where the Caucaus region is actually at. Did Justin respond to that? No, nor do I expect him to.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Roman

    I am a strong supporter for the death penalty. But this was a bad case, in that it does not fit the profile of a Death Penalty case. Everyone is stuck on Innocent or Guilty. Has nothing to do with this. He is probably guilty though if he shot "in the heat of the moment" which is what happened, this normally gets you 25 years maximum and your out in 12. If he had been a janitor this is what would have transpired. But he killed a cop. They take care of their own, which is why the appeals failed.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Darci

    No, he is trying to say that the little black girls were disturbing the church before service which is why God saw it fit to teach them a lesson.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • ToiletBug

      Darcy, lets ask Shirley Phelps-Roper what the WBC thinks about that church bombing. I want to hear her spin on it. That happened before "America Sinned Away Her Day of Grace". Also, to those who are reading this post, does old man Phelps not look like that man in the second Poltergeist movie who came to the door and said "You are all gonna die!!!!!"?

      September 22, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. 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, genuinely 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 an "injustice" too? Shouldnt they have been chanting, protesting, crying, etc this entire time???

    September 22, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "Right Wing Insanity"


    September 22, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Nancy

    It is not the right time to kill him.there is reasonable doubt.they should wait until the truth is found.I am so sorry about this

    September 22, 2011 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. John

    Even when they'r wrong they make it seem like they'r right. Thats the judicial system for you, thats how they keep us under thier thumb. "no one is above the law" except for those who inforce it.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • j. Rhinehart

      I worked in corrections for 15 yr and know something of what goes on from the "inside". Why dont we just release ALL the convicts who say they are not guilty. Then we want need prisons, wow what a way to avoid all the lawsuits from overcrowding.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      When there is this much doubt you dont execute. But when the law has you by the throat it wont let go. It makes an example out of you.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Elizabeth

    Casey Anthony is free with all the evidences and this guy is dead without the evidences... please explain it to me

    September 22, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      True. That just doesn't make any sense. Makes you question yourself huh?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. Chrisg

    If there is ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER, YOU DO NOT EXECUTE. There is so much doubt in this case. What in GOD's name is wrong with these people.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Bman

      It is because the only real doubt..factual doubt, is in the minds of morons on this blog, and morons who support him. The jury didn't find doubt. The courts, all the way to supreme, didn't find doubt. Their opinions matter not yours, thanfully.

      September 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Guest

    The problem is,we still think we are all equal,when we were only created equal,and with disability and economic disparity,not even that is true.
    I still support the death penalty,I just dont think some backwoods hick confederates should be in charge of it.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Common Sense (not the rapper)

      I just don't understand why people are making this a racial thing. Yes, he is a black man, but the reason he is in this predicament is because of the actions he took. This isn't hicks vs. blacks or confederates vs. yankees. This case/situation is about following through with our laws and playing God. CNN wants you to take this as a racial thing and get upset about it. That's why they provide the picture of him that looks like he's a well mannered man. This guy shot another guy in the face, then pistol wipped a homeless man, then very likely shot a police officer in the face. Even if he didn't shoot the police officer in the face, he was not innocent. If a white man were to do these things and were to face this same situation, people may be up in arms about possibly executing a man who did not commit all of the crimes accused, but it wouldn't be misconstrued as a racial issue.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. MamaV

    It doesn't matter if someone recanted. They can't recant the ballistic evidence which tied the bullets to a gun used by Davis in another murder for which he was convicted. He's had 20 years of appeals, went through Georgia courts four times and the Supreme Court three times.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Xgirl360

    I am for the Death Penalty, but I think given the scientific advancements in forensics and DNA, there should be a level of proof that is undeniable for it to be implemented. If there is no DNA evidence, no gun residue, no physical evidence we should err on the side of caution and give the person live without parole. Now, on the other hand, if there is plenty of DNA and physical evidence, then hang 'em. I also think that child rapist should be killed. I was upset when the Supreme Court ruled against Louisiana's law that allowed for pedophiles to be executed. So, i'm no bleeding heart liberal. I just think if there is any doubt, caution should be applied.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
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