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. Bruce

    I don't understand how so many people are 100% convinced that Davis shot Cooper in the face when Cooper is 100% convinced that Davis did not shoot him in the face...

    September 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mercyless

      Preach on, Bruce! Crazy, crazy, crazy! All we want is revenge! Blows my mind!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CCMars

    Regardless of what the truth actually is, the bloodthirstiness that this case has developed – from both within the Georgia government and the comments here – is disturbing on all levels.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Stephen Tiger

    I say... boycott Georgia... I will.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Tell me how ... and I'll join you. When a hard-nosed, very conservative, former prosecutor like Bob Barr says this isn't right, people had better sit up and take notice.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Military in San Antonio


      What they're talking about here isn't even whether the death penalty is appropriate in this case......the issue is that this guy may very well be "NOT GUILTY".

      When there's credible doubt pertaining to guilt.....what's the harm (really, what's the harm) in determining whether a new trial is warranted?

      Almost all the 'witnesses' have recanted, there were NO eye witnesses, there was no murder weapon found connecting Davis to the crime, there was no DNA evidence connecting Davis to the crime and there was no trace evidence of fingerprints connecting Davis to the crime.

      I mean......c'mon! No physical evidence AT ALL.....and 7 of 9 witnesses (none who were at the scene) have recanted or contridicted their testamony. If he had a new trial TODAY, reasonable doubt would literally be flooding the court room!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      But their peaches are so tasty... 🙁

      September 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michael

    You racist MFs are too ridiculous...REASONABLE DOUBT! Does that not make sense to you? If there's REASONABLE DOUBT you CANNOT put someone to murder.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • shooter505

      He was already found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and his case was even reviewed by the US Supreme Court.

      The US Supreme Court is also convinced of his guilt.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      shooter505, SCOTUS is NOT convinced of his guilt. In fact, it was SCOTUS that ordered a stay and told a federal judge (Moore) to look at the case again.

      Moore, in fact, did not comply with SCOTUS' direction. He REFUSED to consider or to give any hard credence to any of the recanted testimonies, and dismissed the case WITHOUT ruling on the merits of the original case. Further, he turned the case on its head and told the defense that it was THEIR JOB to now prove Davis' innocence, rather than actually reconsidering the merits of the prosecutors' job to prove guilt.

      Seriously, people. Don't sit there and pretend that SCOTUS supports your belief that Davis is guilty and that there is no reasonable doubt.

      The jury that convicted Davis now says they wouldn't have convicted him had they known then what they know now.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony K

      @ shooter- no this case WAS NOT heard by the Supreme Court. Get your facts straight, they rarely hear criminal cases.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Pena

      Shooter is wrong. The Supreme court hadn't known about the witnesses redacting their statments or that there has already been another prisoner reported to have confessed to the murder (not officially of course). I think that clearly spells reasonable doubt. When 7 out of 9 witnesses say they were bullied into giving false testimony and that is a RECENT news development he should be re-tried. To execute someone with this much reasonable doubt hanging in the air is disgusting.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Military in San Antonio

      Shooter.....the U.S. Supreme Court never made any ruling what-so-ever regarding his guilt. That is NOT what the Supreme Court does in criminal cases.

      The Supreme Court ONLY makes a determination whether proper legal procedures were followed......period!

      They do not.....I repeat....they do NOT.....determine guilt or innocence.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rstlne

    This political nonsense is going to cost a potentially innocent man his life. That is so wrong! This is where our politics is taking us – that we care nothing for human life except for how it can aid us politically. No wonder this country is in so much trouble. If it would not harm many innocent people, I would advocate for a complete boycott of Georgia and any products they might actually produce. There is simply way too much doubt to execute this man, yet that is exactly what will happen tonight.

    September 21, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. anthrogirl

    Satan works thru men. He will work his greatest deed tonight (death) when the state takes the life of Troy Davis. Satan's alive and well in Georgia. And those cheering him on are... well you know.... Satan's little sycophants.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sparky91

    So what are we saying, keep having trials until we get the verdict we want? The man was found guilty by a jury of his peers. No evidence has surfaced that would exonerate him. He killed a police officer, accept it.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      When a hard-nosed, very conservative, former prosecutor like Bob Barr says this isn't right, people had better sit up and take notice.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • cartmanrulz

      yep another ignorant American here. So you have proof? I'm pretty sure you haven't read up on this. Hell will come to America if you keep messing with people. Govt can do crap against 30 million people. Think about it instead of being brain washed by our Gov't.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul Pena

      Gee in Sparky's world the justice system never makes a mistake. How's disney land? The reality is that 7 out of 9 witnesses in your "judgement by his peers" diatribe have claimed they were bullied into giving false testimony. That is outrageous and a clear indication that justice has been anything but blind here. In addition there are several witnesses who did NOT testify during the trial who claim confession by another man. These are all RECENT developments and need to be addressed. Executing a man with this much reasonable doubt hanging in the air is disgusting.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Larry of Boston

    The US is barbaric in its use of a death penalty. In this case, the exeuction is a travesty. There is something terribly amiss when most of the so called witnesses in this trial admit to lying during the trial --especially wgere there is no physical evidence whatsoever there should be a new trial granted - not the farce that the Supreme did asking Davis to prove his innocence which is so contrary to our system of laws.

    GA officials should be held accountable if they murder Davis under the guise of justice --

    September 21, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. alma

    I don't believe in the death penalty.I think a person suffers more if they are put in prison. In prison you will know what you are missing in society.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. TEE

    I HOPE they know all of the true facts on Troy Davis...if not, you cannot turn back the hands of time. I could not sleep if I found out the man was innocent. Twenty years on the books, isn't going to bring another person back, how about life with parole. KILL TROY DAVIS/CASEY ANOTHONY WALKED...SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE!!! OPEN YOUR EYES YOU CAN SEE....

    September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Alex

    This case has gone through multiple appeals and has been reviewed multiple times (including by a Federal court) and Mr. Davis still has not been exonerated. So, I have to believe that justice is being carried out when Mr. Davis is put to death. Like almost everyone posting here I was not in the courtroom, so I can not make a firm judgment call on his guilt, but I have to believe that everyone involved to date has the complete knowledge that has led to his guilt beyond a shadow of a doubt. Much of what is portrayed by CNN and other media espouses the opinions of those wishing that Mr. Davis be exonerated of the crime he has been found guilty of. However, if you look at who these groups are (Amnesty International, NAACP among others) they have very clear ulterior motives behind their profession of his innocence (abolishing death penalty, protecting the rights of incarcerated African Americans) and their opinions should be viewed as skewed to promote their own agenda and not necessarily a declaration of his innocence. So, unless you are privy to all the evidence of the case you must be very wary of jumping on the Free Troy Davis campaign just because of what a few self-serving groups propagandize.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    The man has been on death row for over 20 years. He has been unable to prove ANY reasonable doubt to his guilty verdict. The man is a murderer. He deserves to die. Plain and simple. Why do I not see this amount of care for the fallen officer?

    September 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rod

    Sad day to say I live in the United States. Georgia wants this guy dead no matter what. God himself could appear in front of the board and they would still say no........

    September 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat

    What's the non-sense about President Obama being a socialist got to do with the execution of Davis? The premise is absurd.
    And then too this country is suffering for going to the extreme on the capitalist mode.
    On Davis case. If there is reasonable doubt then the execution is the wrong penalty.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Put the recanted "witnesses" on trial

    for contempt, then. Each of them deserves some long sentences for their individual guilty-verdicts.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony K

      Yes, it seems Mr Sylvester Coles is the one most likely who commited the crimes.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
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