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:

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[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. Larry

    The only thing I don't understand is why they refused to allow this man to take a polygraph exam as he requested? What harm could it have done? I have no idea of the innocence or guilt of the guy, but sometimes the police and the prosecutors do get it wrong. It has happened before.

    September 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • John H.

      The harm, he may have been found to be telling the truth. That would hinder future use of capital punishment. I have learned that states that use capital punishment tend to take it a bit too personally. If anything they should ALWAYS err on the side of possible innocence and give every chance to prove it. Georgia just proved they are more interested in keeping capital punishment than the life of a possible innocent man. A sad day for the united states and the world.

      September 22, 2011 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Suza

    Condolences to all his family who worked hard to shed more light on the case and on the horrors of Capital Punishment – it seems so cold to say that over a computer, but I mean it with all my heart, even if the screen can't show it.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Martha

    System of Justice in the USA isn't o.k. as long as people are condemned to die. DEath penalty isn't human but barbarian.

    September 22, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pat

    The poll only gives two answers. Yes, I am for the death penalty in cases where 100% sure the person is guilty. If there is any doubt then no – life in prison with no chance of getting out. So this has to be taken into accout when looking at the polling numbers.

    This man should never have been put to death.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Erick

    This is an overwhelming story and hopefully more information will surface very soon.I myself cant figure it all out so Id rather just get informed...Also reading a great book which may help you and your family out in the future as well.It is called "Street Smarts" check it out and let me know what you think

    September 22, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ?

    Can I have his shoes?

    September 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mo

    BOYCOTT GEORGIA!!!!!!! This backwards ass state! How can you execute a man when there is just WAY TOO MUCH reasonable doubt? How can you? 7 OUT OF 9 , I REPEAT, 7 OUT OF 9 jurors recanted! What does that tell you???? Just because this man shot someone in the past, doesn't mean he is guilty of this crime! Dick Cheney shot a man in the face, does that mean he's going to be careless again? There are SO many ignorant people in this world. I don't know why I am still amazed by the ignorance. All the people on here, who are in favor of Troy Davis' execution, don't understand how the justice system works.! You judge whether a person is "guilty" or "not gulity" BY THE FACTS, NOT BY EMOTIONS!!!! In this case, there was not, I repeat NOT enough evidence, therefore, there was a REASONABLE DOUBT!! They could possibly have KILLED an innocent man. They don't care because they denied him a polygraph test. You'll NEVER catch me going to the South! NEVER! These people scare the hell out of me! And you know what else is scary? People who are racist who serve as jurors, judges,DA's, etc. I was a juror once, and I have first hand experience with jurors making a judgement based on a persons ethnic background. And I am PROUD that I pursuaded them to open their minds and judge by the facts, not emotions or racism. unless Troy Davis had new DNA evidence to prove his innocence, this BLACK man NEVER had a chance.

    September 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boo Hoo!

      Can you hear that? It's the sound of the world’s smallest violin playing "Just for the poor oppressed black people". I wonder what the 7 BLACK jury members in this case would make of your comment. More than that, I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would think about African Americans pulling the race card every chance they get. You're just as racist as the people you accuse of being racist and you should be ashamed of yourself.

      September 22, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. A

    I really hate to say this, but the mother of the victim sounds like one selfish, cold hearted idiot....while I am not sure weather or not Davis is guilty or not, there IS some doubt as to what role (if any) he played in the murder....they REALLy should not have exectuted him.....there are PLENTY of better candidates that are not even on death row....

    September 22, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sangukpark

      i know right casey anthony doesn't get executed but he does and the mother completely sounded like a biased person i mean she has to but a complete nihilist

      September 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sangukpark

    so casey anthony doesn't get executed but he does wow that is a fair system US DoJ

    September 22, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Batman

    For a "Christian" country I think its interesting the majority of the people favor death. As Gandhi once said, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." I think being locked in prison for life is worse than death. Who knows where you go after death. Death to me is an escape. Being locked in a cell for years and years knowing you will be here until the day you die sounds mentally painful.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • meme

      I gotta say, that's quite some insight. And I as well was shocked at how there were more YES than NO.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Guy

    2/3 of the people are sheep. There were two men involved. No one knows for sure which of the two men committed the murder. IMO, there wasn't enough conclusive evidence to administer the death penalty. Do I believe the officers coerced the witnesses to provide an unofficial account of the crime...? I sure do. McPhail's family also believes that Troy Davis is the murderer. Belief and reality are two different things. It's illogical to sentence someone the death penalty based on a belief... this is only true, however, if laws were somehow (sarcasm) meant to be logical.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Lester Johnson

    I hate to see any man die? Whether your right or wrong! But, life has consequences and the rules apply to all of us! But, please explain why certain life aren't spared and some are? What about all the racist that hung, shoot and beat Blacks in the 40's, 50's,60's,70's,80's,90's and still today! Why not get justice done for those families! I'm tired of people fight when it's to late? This should've been the fight for years! We as human being should stand for what's right! A crime is a crime, the facts must be the facts and proven! The justice system is due for a overhaul! Get all the old laws revisited and rewritten to be charged fairly to those who commit those crime! Murder-you get life fight wars for NATO! Any crimes committed-your release to the military to rebuild yourself into a human being to living in society! If your going to break laws, robbery, stealing, assaults, car jackings! Go fight in the worst conditions in the world until you rebuild your life and deserve to live a free life! Stealing from US government, bank fraud, mortgage fraud, work for free for State, City, country you stole from! You harm children or women, cut it off! So, you can't harm helpless people! I wish somebody figure out this BS! Cause, this world going backwards from where we should be! Everybody deserve a home, a job or career! The ability to provide for their love ones, family and friends. Why can't this be the place it calm to be! The home of the brave and land of the free! We all aren't treated equal, cause we have racist and bias people ruling the laws, states, county, business, police, fireman, city business! Making bold decisions cause they don't see what they want in the house hold for the highest family of the land! One may say! One day! 2008 "YES WE CAN" 2012"WE HAVE MADE IT YET"

    September 23, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. nicole

    For those who believe may God Have mercy and one day the truth will will be told ..

    September 23, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
  14. nicole

    Those that were involved in execution may you all find no peace

    September 23, 2011 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  15. Robert Harmon

    Should the death penalty be abolished?....YES, for all the innocent unborn children that die every day...and yet we are so upset when murderers on death row are put to death. Ridiculous thinking.

    September 23, 2011 at 5:12 am | Report abuse |
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