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. Axis

    Uhhh, he was found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That's what the trial was for? Your getting half the story and relying upon facts presented by the convicted who will frame them in the best light possible. Before anyone claims they know he should not be executed, make sure you know the facts surrounding the events and have heard from the witnesses who testified already in front of 12 jurors who found him guilty. To claim witnesses have recanted or altered their testimony now is weak without knowing what changes were made. Any change to testimony, even ancillary changes like the time of day, weather conditions etc will be claimed by the convicted murderer to be reversals or altered testimony.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Feast of Beast

    Yes. Let Al Sharpton be executed as well, just on general principal. Self-appointed, racist, loud-mouthed, lying pig!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miles

      Says the man with the racist, loud-mouthed post. SMH

      September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jack

    Wow – that was REALLY one sided – even for CNN!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catherine Neumann

      For a self-proclaimed "Christian" country, we sure don't act like it!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |

    The lesson that we can all learn from this is – DON'T EVER GET ARRESTED IN GEORGIA !

    September 21, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Illuminati


      September 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andy

    I can't beleive this is going to happen! How do thay think this can be justified with all of the change in the witness stories? I setup a debate at ( to see if we can get to the bottom of this!

    September 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • San

      There is doubt; give him the test with the understanding that if he does not pass he will be put to death within the week. This is barbarism. There is enough doubt to postpone this execution. It makes me sick.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ps

    I think its sad that you people are playing the race card. If he wasnt guilty why play the race card. To the police officer family I hope you can get closure now that the real killer will be put to death. I hope Officer Mark MacPhail can rest in peace now.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      Is he the real killer? No one seems to want to know for sure.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • pchsbenz

      Then let him take the polygraph test. He has absolutely nothing to lose.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • *Lee

      Polygraphs are to unrelieable to be used so I'm glad they denied he that.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ed in miami

    Educated people in the world are looking at us and seeing the decay of this country of the past..we were great in the 20th century...this is yet another example of the lack of education, the contempt for the law...a very, very poor place to be now, and with no future, seeing what comes next....very, very sad...

    September 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      We're still great Ed. Will hopefully be even greater when Obama and his cohorts in crime get fired.

      September 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • San

      Yeah, Fritos are "great," too. Your point bring, Randy?

      September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • AzHitman

      Fritos are terrible, only monstrously obese people eat that garbage.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dgh1965

    some of you folks on here are really something. This man is not an upstanding citizen, this wasn't his first run in with the law, this wasn't the first time that he attacked somebody with a weapon. In Fact that very night, the man he was convicted of murdering, he attacked two other people, one he shot, in the face. You don't shoot somebody in the face and expect them to live. The courts, the boards, etc, they just look at the name and say no go head and execute. They review all the transcripts from the trial, they review the rule of the law. It has stood up every time. The only problem is that it's taken 22 years because of stall tactics by the lawyers, which they seem to do when they know their client is guilty. In addition to that they seem to have turned to a PR campaign since the law isn't working in their favor.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      When someone is on death row, it's because they chose to be on death row. If he didn't want to die by lethal injection, he shouldn't have done what he did, if he's guilty. You know if you commit a crime you will suffer the consequences for it, no matter what they are. If you don't want to suffer the consequences, don't commit the crime. Don't give me this crap that he had a bad life or bad environment, etc. We all know right from wrong and we choose whether we do right or wrong.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Databaselawyer

      You are right on ... I can't read every post, but yours is the first to bring up his other crimes that day, that no one is disputing that I can tell. This is like Buyer Beware, so here it is Criminal Beware ... you kill in Georgia at that point in time, because the law changes, or Texas and other death penalty states, you might get executed for your crime. The criminal needs to be aware of the maximum consequence for his action. Death is a foreseeable consequence of shooting someone in the face, as is being shot by police during the subsequent arrest, or being put to death after a trial. I have zero sympathy for this guy.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    Who would Jesus lethally inject?

    September 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Read Revelation, you'll find out it won't be a 'lethal injection', but death just the same. Don't say He wouldn't put some to death. He is the one who is going to be in charge at the end of this system. Good bye to the rubbish .

      September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernAtheist

      Who cares? The United States is not a Christian theocracy, no matter how much the religious right would love to make it so.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Randy

    The only problem I have with the death penalty is that the inmate gets to die a quick, painless death. They lay down on the gurney, the only pain they feel is the needle getting stuck in their veins, then they go to sleep. They should have to die the same way they killed their victim. Just my humble opinion. Oh yeah, show it on tv too.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • San

      Cro mag

      September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • pchsbenz

      No thank you, I do not find taking people's lives entertaining. We are no longer in the days of the coliseum. However, I can see the neanderthal era has returned based on your comment.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Catherine

      That is why they should receive life in prison without parole!! That is a miserable existence.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juggie

      IDIOT! Ooops, I meant to say, "RACIST IDIOT!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • AzHitman

      miserable sentence indeed for him and the tax payers who have to keep this guy fed and comfortable in his prison cell, it's best just to be quick and efficient about it, so no one suffers.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernAtheist

      Your desire to use violence to justify further violence is sick.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • SouthernAtheist

      Your desire to use violence to justify further violence is sick.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Feast of Beast

    We don't have a "death penalty" in this country. We have a "several decades in prison and then MAYBE a death penalty." That's why it's not a deterrent: it's like saying "Jimmy, you will be grounded for a week, 3 Summers from now, for hitting your brother today!" Oooooh, that's a real threat there! What do you think Jimmy will do? I wouldn't want to be his brother. Now, if Jimmy got his ass kicked on the spot, it might have some effect.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Dead on! I know how people hate it when the Bible gets mentioned, but to paraphrase a verse from Solomon. "Because sentence against a bad work is not executed swiftly, it has become set in the heart of man to do badness". Is this what we have here? Exactly!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MikeNews

    Why deny the polygraph? What's the harm? It wouldn't change anything legally. Denying it is pure meanness, for CYA purposes by the State of Georgia. I believe that Troy Davis had due process in the Courts. If anyone is to blame for his death, other than Troy Davis, it is 7 perjurers from the "black community:" They should be charged and convicted of perjury. Note that their "recanting"statements were NOT under oath, but their original trial statements were. The polygraph wouldn't be under oath. It's not different than writing a last letter proclaiming his innocence. That doesn't make him innocent.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Catherine

    Courts and juries making the right decision "most" of the time is not acceptable when you are terminating someone's life.
    The bullets and casing "probably" came from the gun is a little to loosey goosey for me with regards to the justice system.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CalmDog

    It's not so much that I'm against getting rid of psychopathic killers. It's mostly that I don't trust the government not to screw it up. Because if they do – if they decide that right person or wrong, "SOMEBODY GOTS TO DIE", then in addition to committing murder, we've let the real killer walk free – among us.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • San

      Thank you.

      September 21, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AzHitman

    You know it's B.S. if Al Sharpton shows up.

    September 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny

      Sharpton sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
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