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. Joe

    Years ago I was arrested for shooting a clerk during a robbery. I not only looked like the actual thief, I even drove the exact same vehicle as the getaway car. My license number was even nearly identical to the number a witness wrote down. If the real thief had not been arrested while committing another robbery, I may still be in jail for something I did not do.

    It could happen to you. Think about that.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tony K

    This is the new MAD MAX world we live in, this is not just the Law Makers egging this on though. Watching the Republican debates I am sickened by the audience cheering on Rick Perry executing an approximate 40 Innocent people saying he sleeps well at night. They also cheered on letting INNOCENT PEOPLE DIE just for being UNINSURED due to no fault of their own such as the worst economy since WW11. This new blood hungry breed of people IS the Demise Of America. Welcome to Rome. Next we will have Gladiator fights.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sparky91

    All punishments are irreversible. If you get sentenced to 1 year in prison and you serve that time, only to have the judicial system find out you're innocent. Guess can not reverse that 1 year sentence. What if you died the day you get out of prison? You can't undo any punishment, but in america you can certainly get paid well for being innocent.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Yes, but most states have laws that will pay you a certain amount of money for every year you spent behind bars if it comes out that you were exonerated. This is why you find some cases of plea bargains where people plead "no contest" and get sentenced to time served when later evidence comes up to prove innocence and the state offers a quicker exit from prison if they take the plea deal instead of fighting to clear their names and to get that big chunk of money (if they've been there for a long time).

      September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      @ sparky91

      Umm...Yes you can absolutely get it reversed... If the justice system finds that you are innocent after being found guilty, you are released of your jail term immediately and compensated for the time you had to serve

      September 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandra

    This is wrong, sick, an abuse of the justice system. How many more people will Georgia kill that could be innocent/ how many have they already? I guess reasonable doubt doesn't exist for the court that hasn't reversed a decision in thirty years.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      Google 'DavisRuling082410' and read it as to stop being so naive. The guy confessed and the recantations are shady. It all makes sense and he's had a fair trial among his peers and 15 appeals. There's physical evidence "yet missing", past history, confession and bragging and no one else has come forward admitting to the crime. I know that's not entirely conclusive but come on. Read the recantations, the patronizing denials and credibility of the bearers. I don't subscribe to any death penalty agenda but I do strongly believe, based upon my reading and investigating this case as a civic duty, that the man is guilty. Georgia has the death penalty and he committed his crime under its rule so be it. Fight not for Davis, but the abolition of the death penalty if you truly care about the man.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ria

    You Americans have really serious to consider to stop the death penalty. This is satanic and it will come back on your head if you agree with this crime.

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

      Satanic?? LOL! Dumbest comment I've seen on CNN in a while.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      I definitely think that this could be the catalyst that is needed to change our justice system. I hope with all my heart that they don't carry out this execution. There is just so much doubt, so many people recanting. If he just maintained his innocence without other support I could see the board moving forward (even though that in and of itself is terrifying to think) but they are being so stubborn, and for what? This is irreversible and our justice system is broken. We don't correct anything through it...

      September 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • anthrogirl

      @ ria.... you're absolutely right!

      September 21, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. cartmanrulz

    People it's only a matter of time before everyone in the US riots. The army, navy, marines etc couldn't stop it anyways. quit being brain washed and do something about it. America is not land of the free but land of the PUPPETS controlled but the Gov't.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jean Sartre, WI

    Find out who is on the Parole Board, get their addresses and phone numbers and visit these folks; these are the clowns that are murdering a potentially innocent human being...

    September 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe, Louisville, KY

    He is black so he is guilty of something – even if it is only of being black. This is the United States of America after all!

    September 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. woodofpine

    What again does society get from the death penalty? Detterence? Why do countries (and US states) with no death penalty have lower homicide rates than those with it? Hmmm – OK – vengance. Does that feel good!? Is that socially or emotionally healthy? Me thinks not...

    September 21, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. vet68

    I'm I missing something here, he was found guilty , by trial...So where is the problem ???? It's his time to meet his maker !!!At least his family has been there by his side all these years and interacting with him , the victems family has had NO interaction with there loved one ! Cry me a river , then hang HIM ! Sorry that's the way it move on , next case !

    September 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • you are missing something...

      I'm not saying he's innocent or guilt y but if you followed the history of this at all, you'd know that there have been apparent flaws in his trial. witnesses recanted. lack of physical evidence. evidence of bureaucratic mistakes. So while I understand your frustration with possibly misplaced sympathy, we as a nation don't need to kill a possibly innocent man. Hell, keep him in jail but don't pretend this isn't complicated.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      The problem, vet68, is that they probably convicted the wrong man for the crime. Sylvester Coles shot Mark MacPhail, not Troy Davis.

      September 21, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. emdub

    America continues to be a third world theocracy condoning state murder, torture of prisoners and a judicial system that favors the wealthy.

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

    Waited to long already for justice to be carried out.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Josie_Mae

    Everyone pointing to the "eye for an eye" biblical verses needs to remember those are in the OLD testament. Jesus points out in Matthew 5:38-39: "You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth". But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
    I am not necessarily for or against capital punishment, but I find it hypocritical the way so-called Christians pick and choose biblical verses that just happen to suit their preconceived political opinions.

    September 21, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bruce

    The defense team should have interviewed the witnesses more thoroughly, and should have been able to figure out what the police did to get them to testify against Davis. They already knew that the police would conduct a search for critical forensics evidence without a warrant, they should have known they would also bully these witnesses into fingering their client.

    The defense had a chance to put Dorothy Ferrell back on the stand and expose the fact, docu.mented in a written letter, no less, that she was trading her testimony against Davis for helping her to get out of jail–a letter she wrote from her jail cell. They didn't. They asked for a mistrial based on this and it was denied. But they didn't put her back on the stand to expose yet another problem with how this case was handled and how it was prosecuted.

    If Troy Davis dies tonight, his blood is on THEIR hands (the defense) as well as it is on the prosecutors' hands. Even if he is guilty, at the end of the day his execution under these circu.mstances is a travesty of justice.

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

    What a shame. Cory Booker's grammar is certainly not that of Stanford or mayoral caliber.

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