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.”

[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. Bob

    I think we should ask both his victims if we should give him a say or not.

    Oh, they are dead....

    September 21, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      if the guys innocent in real life not only do we get new murderers but the old murderers got away with at least 3 themselves

      September 21, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Slartibartfast

      Fool this guy is at least only possibly innocent and the US is nothing but a glorified Lynch Mob. Yesterdaya Trial began in China, for a man accussed of killing his girlfriend here in Canada.They were both english students. Why so lond to get the trial started. Well Chins decided they wanted to try the boyfriend at home since both were chinese. Canada refused to turn over any eveidence of the crime (She was killed in Canada for those not following along.) We are so strongly against the death penaly that we followed you innocent until proven guilty rule and told China that they would have to take the death penalty off the table took em two year, but they eventually agreed. Canada, call us Pusies but this is the kind of country that makes me proud.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
    • onefeather

      Well Said.. This guy got what he deserved.

      September 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. yeltzin

    new evidence? the word of a davis fan? Any or all of those recanting witnesses should volunteer for polygraph tests and air the results, davis himself should have volunteered for a polygraph any of the last 20 do so now buys him a few more days above ground even though he is sure to fail it. But authorities won't be pawns in such a ruse.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Kat

      Are polygraphs used as evidence in cases such as this one? Dummy

      September 21, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • yeltzin

      no – they are not evidence of guilt but hthey are evidence of innocence to authorities and the public at large. want to convince folks like me? take a polygraph

      September 21, 2011 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
    • q

      how do u know he is sure to fail? its not like u r the machine that would be testing him....really let that man try and if he fails he fails but if not let him stay in jail for the other crimes.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      not sure a polygraph would be good anyhow. you can convince yourself of alot of things in 20 years. a polygraph's results wouldn't be worth a crap. it was just his attorney's ploy to drag the process out and get more bleeding hearts on board to get on the news and protest his being put down.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    The guy is a murderer, execute him asap. he has enjoyed 20 years of being alive after he took another persons life.

    It's amazing how all these murderers all of a sudden claim innocence. he was there. he was part of the action. Execute him as that is the right punishment for taking a life.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Attorney

      You're an idiot. He didn't "suddenly" ask for a stay. This is a process that has been going on since he was convicted. Once you're convicted of a crime, it's extremely difficult to get a reversal. Even if all the witnesses recant, the system doesn't allow you to get a reversal.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jaysen

      based on what physical evidence? based on two witnesses we're going to put a man to death?

      September 21, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • mjsmith

      @Attorney – the prosecution proved their case. the defense in 20 years cannot prove he is innocent. They say they need more time? How much more time? The victim's family needs closure after 20 years. I would be more than happy to inject the needle, however; he should be killed the same way he took the life of a great officer.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      let's get the show on the road. get er done. i am getting fed up with bleeding heart libs wanting what they want and not having any clue to the impact their decisions have on our futures. we would be a poor desolate socialist state if we allowed them to run things for an extended period of time. lets clean out our prisons by gassing, voltage, whatever and save the country millions of dollars a year. if you have ever had the pleasure of working in the prison systems you could see first hand the financial waste and the overabundance of worthless criminals that will never be able to contribute to society.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      They proved their case based on lying witnesses and false ballistics reports.

      (The next part isn't really part of the debate, because the debate is about whether or not we know for sure he did it, not whether or not death penalty is right or wrong)

      You don't need to kill the man for the family to have closure.Europe and Canada do just fine without execution. They also maintain significantly lower crime rates.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slartibartfast

      America is so lost, it is a wonder the nation is still breathing. You kill people based on the testimony of 9 people 7 of who said they lied and were coerced by police. You are a Racist nation that could so easily become Nazi Germany it scares the bejezus out of me. The sooner you implode and become the 3rd world nation you are destined to become, the better. I am sick to death of you running the world when you can't even stick to your own moral values. The people screaming to put him to death are likely christians too, that in and of itself is so terrifying. You are so blatantly hypocritical it makes the skin crawl. Do I sound Anti-American? In this case...GOOD!

      September 30, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dribble

    The majority of the jury that convicted were black. Quit throwing the race card out; it's not applicable in this case. And we ARE talking about just this case. Focus!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    Hey if he is innocent maybe he can ask OJ to help find the real shooter...

    September 21, 2011 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      OJ knows that his son was the murderer...

      September 21, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. skooterdog1

    They need to issue a stay at least until all of the new and old information is gone over again. It is the right thing to do.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  7. Bruce

    Seriously, folks. Look it up. Troy Davis NEVER ADMITTED to shooting Cooper in the face. Cooper said he didn't know Davis all that well and can't think of a reason Davis would shoot him. Davis DID admit to being at the party, nothing more, nothing less. Everyone who said they saw Davis shoot Cooper have since recanted. Everyone, save Coles, who said they heard Davis admit they shot Cooper have since recanted.

    By the way, when you hear someone say they killed someone, guess what? That's HEARSAY evidence. It's only a confession if you tell law enforcement AFTER you've been made aware of your rights to remain silent. How any of this "evidence" of people saying they heard Davis admit to the shooting was ever allowed to enter into the trial is beyond me. That is extreme incompetence on the part of the defense lawyers...

    September 21, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Ivan

      It is NOT only a confession if he says the police AFTER he has been read his rights. It is still a confession, but just not one that can be used in a court of law, but that does NOT mean he didn't do it, just because he wasn't aware of his rights first, not to confess. He did it, flip the dang switch already.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      No, Ivan. Sylvester Coles shot Mark MacPhail, not Troy Davis.

      Flip the switch and the wrong man dies.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Also, people brag about being a murderer in certain contexts even when they were not the murderer, because they get something out of it. It is NOT a confession, and the reason it's not permissible in court is because of the fact that it is not a confession.

      There is no law against lying to your friends, even if it is a lie about murdering someone. It is against the law to lie to authorities if the lie obstructs their investigation.

      September 21, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Blood On My Hands

    I got blood on my hands -- adios Troy!
    Hell is nice this time of year and for eternity!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • neil mclaughlin lead a simple uncomplicated and unfortunate life my friend. If you are a Christian I would avoid the hypocrisy of saying the Our Father!

      September 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Blood On My Hands

    I hear tyhe Fat Lady Executioner singing ..... "Another One Bites The Dust" ....

    September 21, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  10. Judge Dred

    Feel the burn!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. N

    if it is wrong to murder, then why is it ok for the government to do it?

    September 21, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  12. ScubaDude

    Why are NONE of these death penaly "opponents" in Texas objecting to the scheduled execution of Lawrence Russell Brewer, 44, who is scheduled to die by lethal injection in the killing of James Byrd? Could it be a racial thing? And before you jump up and yell at me, I think Brewer should be chained to the back of a pickup truck by his neck and dragged down the road, just like he did to James Byrd!!

    September 21, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. Flint Rock

    Too many Americans love raw meat
    This will be a good day for them.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. Time For Him to Die

    It's been 20 years - he should have been executed many years ago. If someone else had done it, why hasn't his team of lawyers found them? Oh wait, maybe OJ and Casey Anthony are looking for the real killers.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • DontKillTroy

      Ummm.... They did... His name is Sylvester Cole. He admitted to doing it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Logical Thinker

    If his own mother says he's guilty, HE'S GUILTY!! I've had enough from all of you bleeding heart pansies. Die slow Troy.

    September 21, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Tron

      And Long Live Casey Anthony. Just Us system is a complete joke

      September 21, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Kealia

      You are a logical thinker? Really? Ever heard of scientific evidence? Stop using emotion as your argument. Calling people pansies because they question the lack of evidence just shows your lack of rationality.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
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