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. Jaxon

    should death penalty abolised... How would it be getting blamed for something you didn't do people get second chances so "NO"

    September 23, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wolfgang Treiber, Germany

    The case Troy Davis shows to me that the U.S. in its kernel is a frightening backward nation.

    Never I want to visit the USA. Could be a step into hell.

    September 23, 2011 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. chris

    Eye for an eye make the whole world blind!!! The death penelty does not deter crime

    September 23, 2011 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  4. essey howard

    no more snitching do not give imformation to the police

    September 23, 2011 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. essey howard

    don't ever talk the police if you are not sure about what you think you saw or what you think you might have heard. Just keep your mouth shut until you talk with a lawyer

    September 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mckayla

    I dont think putting him to dealth was right. For one he was never proven guilty, to the goverment is just as wrong as he was if he did because they also murdered somebody

    September 23, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. enough

    If America would take a no tolerant stand against brutal crimes and stop with all the probation and community service and "don't do that again johnny" slap on the wrist crap, then maybe, just maybe the crime rate would decrease. The problem is we just sugarcoat the main issues and try to push aside the truth, which is this country is chock full of violent criminals who get away with whatever they want, time and time again. It's time to overhaul the justice system and show the world we mean business when it comes to crime. For godsakes people, get a grip and stop feeling sorry for criminals....they knew damn well what they were doing when they committed such haneous acts and deserve whatever comes their way. Maybe we should take note at crime rates in some other countries...eye for an eye!! I would like for my kids to be able to raise their kids in a place that doesn't tolerate idiocracy!!!!!

    September 23, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • L. Stewart

      So, Enough, what the bloody hell is your point?! Why don't you go live with the family of the slaon officer because they also have made up their mind that this guy is a criminal and guilty. Where does that leave your stupid comments if he was not the dude who did this? Give your head a shake!

      September 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • enough

      I pity your poor many crimes have you committed so far??

      September 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Frank Blackstone

    The Mother of the Slain Office seems to not mutch care for true JUSTICE Just revenge to anybody she can have , No true care who she gets just get someone and kill them , No need for evedencial evidance . What ever hapind to Resanoble doubt , We the Judge and Jury and now the Mothers THINK we have the Man ..THINK No need to Know the truth , How this country can be so UnCaring is beyond my comprehension sometimes like this ....

    September 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mad As Hell

    The family of the slain cop could not give a hoot if the poor man was innocent. They just wanted someone, ANYONE, dead! What kind of repulsive mentality is that? A family of losers! The good people of Georgia should HIT THE GOVERNOR WHERE IT HURTS – VOTE HIM AND HIS MURDEROUS COHORTS OUT OF OFFICE. Throw them out on their ears. Use democracy to pay them back, folks!

    September 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. 19th Century Law

    I live in the UK, so we don't use the petty Death penalty anymore and I think it is disgusting that the death penalty is still in use in the US, it strikes me as nothing but a hypocritical, horrific way of treating human beings, it is against everything the Bill of Human Rights stands for and makes me really wonder whether there is any sense left in the world. You wrongfully convicted and sent to death a man who had to leave behind a lot. Some say, they didn't grant the victim mercy, what does killing the perpetrator do but cause more upset and burden the families of more than one person. I think Georgia should feel disgusted with itself, as anyone who uses the death penalty. A vile, vindictive method of justice and one that does not reflect the 21st century.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • james

      he got what he got, i dont feel sorry for him ,the police man was doing his job and if he shot that cop he justice have been serve, i dont feel sorry for him because he was a black man,less crime off the streets,thank god for the laws of the with or die by it.

      September 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • scotonfire

      Get over yourself. Intentionally killing another human being is pretty much the worst crime you can commit, so I would say you don't deserve to live and breathe the same air I do.

      September 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. brian

    Don't everyone say "THEY DIDN'T DO IT"??

    September 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Tim

    Hanghimnow – you are the reason Americans are viewed as ignorant racists around the world

    September 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 19th Century Law

    @james Seriously, did you seriously say that? You disgusting awful person, you don't deserve to ever live under any form of protection from any law, you vile waste of space. You make me sick.

    September 23, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wonder

    UK is right, but i take it a step further. US Justice System has proven- that they can't be trusted, to make such decisions. Look at how many innocent people, via DNA – sat in jail- on death row. I also think there is a high probability that- this was the judges method of getting rid of the evidence of they're wrong doing. Imagine, if he actually got another trial and was found no guilty (which would have been likely)- and let free- all the damage he would do to the gang – conducted this whole thing over the years. The 1976 reenstating of the death penalty in the US, was to address, mass murders and the like- it's out of control and should be stopped. The President should have intervened- he made a big mistake.

    September 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Wendy

    Am I so lucky to be a Canadian. This might make me rethink visiting the States. I do not know how the judges can sleep when so many witnesses told them that they lied. I wonder if it was an off duty garbage collector or off duty waitress if they would have killed this man with so little evidence. How can killing him make the officer's family feel at peace? I wonder if their son had killed someone by accident in his line of work, if they would feel he should be killed too. No one has the right to take another person' s life. I have lost my sister (4) at a young age but never dreamed of having the person responsible for her dying to be killed. It will not bring her back.

    September 24, 2011 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Joel Frame

      Wendy, your country just put a woman in jail for a mere 16 days for strangling her baby and throwing his dead body over her neighbor's fence. The grass is not any greener on your side.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:58 am | Report abuse |
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