Troy Davis put to death
September 21st, 2011
11:50 PM ET

Troy Davis put to death

Georgia inmate Troy Davis was executed Wednesday night for the 1989 murder of Mark MacPhail, an off-duty Savannah police officer.

Davis died at 11:08 p.m. ET, according to a prison official. The execution was about four hours later than initially scheduled, because prison officials waited for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Davis' request for a stay.

After 10 p.m. ET, the Supreme Court, in a brief order, rejected Davis' request. His supporters had sought to prevent the execution, saying seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony.

Below are the developments as they happened. Read the full story here.

[Updated at 11:50 p.m.] Jon Lewis of WSB radio, one of the execution witnesses, gave this account of the minutes before Davis' death:

After the warden read the execution order and asked whether Davis had anything to say, Davis - strapped to a gurney - lifted his head up and looked at the witness area's first row, which was where MacPhail's relatives and friends sat.

“(Davis) made a statement in which he said ... 'Despite the situation you're in, (I) was not the one who did it.' He said he was not personally responsible for what happened that night, that he did not have a gun. He said to the family that he was sorry for their loss, but also said that he did not take their son, father, brother.

"He said to them to dig deeper into this case, to find out the truth. He asked his family and friends to keep praying, to keep working, to keep the faith. And then he said to the prison staff, the ones he said 'are going to take my life,' ... ‘May God have mercy on your souls,’ and his last words to them (were), 'May God bless your souls.'"

Another witness, reporter Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, also gave quotes from Davis. According to her, Davis said: "The incident that night was not my fault. I did not have gun."

"And that’s when he told his friends to continue the fight and 'look deeper into this case so you can really find the truth,'" Cook said.

Davis also said, according to Cook: "For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on your souls, may God bless your souls."

Davis said to the MacPhail family, according to Cook: "I did not personally kill your son, father and brother. I am innocent."

Hours earlier, Davis declined what the prison offered him as a final meal, Cook said.

[Updated at 11:12 p.m.] Davis has been executed, a prison representative has said. The time of death was 11:08 p.m. ET.

[Updated at 10:55 p.m.] Davis' execution is expected to begin between 11:05 to 11:10 p.m. ET, the Georgia Department of Corrections says.

[Updated at 10:36 p.m.] People who'd been protesting for hours across the street from the prison where Davis will be executed are chanting, "We are Troy Davis," CNN's David Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 10:21 p.m.] The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Davis' motion for a stay of execution.

Word of the Supreme Court's decision comes more than three hours after Davis was scheduled to be executed, and more than four hours after Davis' attorneys had filed the motion.

With the ruling, Georgia is expected to proceed with Davis' execution.

[Updated at 10:07 p.m.] The daylong gathering across the street from the prison by Davis' supporters has turned into a candlelight vigil, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports. Hundreds still are waiting for a resolution. Some are praying, and some others are singing.

[Updated at 9:41 p.m.] The Rev. Raphael Warnock said he was standing with Davis' relatives on the grounds of the prison when they heard the execution wouldn't happen at the scheduled time.

"I was standing with the family at about 7 p.m. By that time, of course, naturally, we were expecting the worst," Warnock, a pastor to Davis' family, told CNN's Piers Morgan. "Suddenly we began to hear cheers from the crowd across the way, and the word came that the execution had been delayed.

"Certainly we're glad that Troy Davis is still alive, but we are still witnessing, in my estimation, a civil right violation and a human rights violation in the worst way unfold before our very eyes. This is Troy Davis’ fourth execution date. I’m glad that he’s alive, but that in and of itself is cruel and unusual punishment. America can do much better than this."

Asked if Davis had had what would have been offered as a last meal, Warnock indicated that Davis might have skipped it.

“I do know that on the last time he received an execution warrant, he refused his last meal," Warnock said. "I spoke earlier tonight with his nephew ... and he said his uncle would refuse his last meal again today. He has continued to insist that this is not his last meal. I must say to you that he evinces a faith that is just amazing, even to me as his pastor."

[Updated at 9:05 p.m.] The number of police officers standing outside the Georgia prison housing Davis has risen to more than 100, CNN's David Mattingly reported. The officers are watching protesters, who've been across the street for hours.

The crowd has been orderly, Mattingly said. While it had been chanting for much of the day, they're "probably as quiet as I’ve heard them all night," Mattingly reported.

[Updated at 8:55 p.m.] Dozens of people have gathered outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in support of Davis, footage from CNN affiliate WJLA shows.

Still no ruling from the court on Davis' request for a stay of execution.

[Updated at 8:39 p.m.] This video report from CNN's David Mattingly, made about 40 minutes ago, shows the people who've been protesting across the street from the prison where Davis is being held, and the police officers in riot gear who are in front of the prison, watching the protesters.

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[Updated at 8:19 p.m.] The mother of the police officer that Davis was convicted of killing told CNN's Anderson Cooper that she is "absolutely devastated" that the execution has yet to happen.

“I’m absolutely devastated because I want it over with. ... They’ve been through the courts four times there in Georgia. They’ve been to the Supreme Court three times," Anneliese MacPhail said in an interview from her home, referring to previous delays. "This delay, again, is very upsetting and I think very unfair to us."

"I'd like to close this book," she said. "We feel (Davis is) guilty. The evidence and everything that we have seen - that I have seen , because I’ve been to all the trials - he is guilty, and I believe in that. And so does the rest of my family.”

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[Updated at 8:10 p.m.] The time that the U.S. Supreme Court is taking to rule on Davis' motion for a stay of execution is unusual, CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said. "Usually, it’s handled pretty promptly," Toobin said.

Davis' lawyers filed the motion at about 6 p.m., an hour before Davis' scheduled execution. The state attorney general's office filed a response shortly afterward.

The two hours that the court has had the motion is "not a long time, but it's long enough for (the nine justices) to respond and say, 'Go ahead,'" Toobin said. "So it does suggest that they’re taking this seriously, and there may be some disagreement.”

[Updated at 7:43 p.m.] After a brief moment of jubilation upon hearing that the execution hasn't yet happened, Davis' supporters - who have gathered outside the grounds of the prison where he is being held - are regrouping and talking about what might be next, CNN's Emma Lacey-Bordeaux reports. "Troy Davis can never die" is a common theme.

The state of Georgia isn't proceeding with the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Davis' request for a stay. Davis' attorneys filed the request about an hour before Davis' scheduled 7 p.m. execution.

Davis' supporters, who had been chanting, are now letting out cheers as drivers pass and honk their horns. Otherwise, the mood is tense as they wait for a development, Lacey-Bordeaux reports.

[Updated at 7:26 p.m.] The state of Georgia hasn't yet proceeded with the execution of Troy Davis, because it is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on his request for a stay, CNN's Bill Mears reports.

Davis had been scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. ET. His attorneys filed a motion asking the Supreme Court for a stay about an hour before the scheduled execution time.

[Updated at 7:06 p.m.] Inside the grounds of the prison where Davis is scheduled to be executed, about 100 people, including Davis' sister, have formed a tight circle and are praying and singing, CNN's Gustavo Valdes reports.

[Updated at 6:32 p.m.] Davis' attorneys have filed a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking for a stay of execution, the court has said. No decision yet.

[Updated at 6:28 p.m.] Earlier, this blog mentioned a protest outside the White House against Troy Davis' scheduled execution. Here is video of the protest:

[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. Bman

    There was a comedian a while back that had the best idea for our death row. Get a giant swimming pool, put all of the death row inmates in it. Next, plug a toaster into the clapper and then...CLAP ON.... CLAP OFF.... THE CLAPPER! LOL

    September 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Frank

    Put him down.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    A white guy is driving drunk home from a bar in Georgia. By accident he hits two brothas, one goes thru the windshield and the other is thrown about 60 feet. The Sheriff shows up..the white guy says, I can explain what happened. The Sheriff says, "That's okay son, I got it. I'll arrest one for breaking and entering and the other for fleeing the scene

    September 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      The sherriff was black though.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kashimae

    Here is what I don't get. The people who are saying Mr. Davis should not be executed are saying that he should be given life in prison instead. If they think he is innocent, they should be saying sent him free.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • forgetthis

      They are saying he is innocent of the murder. However he was convicted of several other crimes.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Mama

      I think a majority is saying that if there is a shred of doubt, why execute this man?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. KD


    September 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      You can't read can you? There was plenty of evidence and 7 black jury members said he was guilty and should die.

      September 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. forgetthis

    There is no statistical information that shows what percentage of deathrow inmats have had their convictions overturned either before or after their exicution but that number should be zero. Because it is not and never will be I am against the death penalty in all cases. There are crimes that I believe are unforgivable and that should warent the death penalty but there is no way to be certain that every conviction is the correct one. Many who are convicted are innocent and many more found innocent are guilty.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • TacoSalad

      Not sure how accurate you are about there not being any statistical evidence. A quick Google search for the term "death row cases overturned" yields what appears to be some pretty reliable sources giving the number of overturned cases. Wouldnt you get that stat you say doesnt exist by dividing the number of executions (which can also be easily found) and the number of overturned executions within a given time frame? Also have trouble taking all these "No death pentalty ever!" people seriously when I have yet to hear a single person stand up and defend the right for Lawrence Brewer to live.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Judge Dred

    What time do they put the diapers on? Tracie's gonna love it when his bowels let go!

    September 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. FauxNews

    They give him a physical before they execute him. Surely, the US is the World's stupidest country.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cliff claven

    Bye Bye Loser. Satin is waiting.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sad

      Satin is waiting? In what form? Sheets? Pajamas? What?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sunnysout

    God gave us all free will. If someone decides that they want to go shoot up people at a party and take down a cop, then you get what's coming. Where have all you bleeding heart liberals been for the last 20 yrs of this guys sentence? Lets not worry about this because in 48 hours we fickle Americans will have forgotten Troy whats his name and have moved on to some other highly important, controversial issue to read about on CNN and post our witty comments about.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. cpe111

    Firstly I think we will all agree that no justice system is perfect.

    Given that fact then at some point an innocent person will be found guilty and subsequently executed? If an innocent person is found guilty (and please don't say this is not possible) there is always a possibility that new evidence discovered in the future will exonerate them. If they are still in prison because they were sentenced to life then at least they can have the rest of their lives back. If we have killed them then there is no way justice can be seen to be done, a travesty will have occurred and any right minded juror will know and have to live with the fact for the rest of their lives that they sent an innocent person to their death.

    The fact that DA's seem to peruse the death penalty with utmost vigor and are highly resistant to presentation of new evidence makes this scenario more likely.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    Hey Troy – 2 hours until you meet your maker! Bon-voyage – you had 20+ years more than the person you murdered.

    Enjoy eternity breathing sulfurous fumes. You are lying about your guilt so you have not truly repented.

    Buh-bye. Lights out in 119 minutes!

    September 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jason

    What is an injustice is that the Atlanta child/rapist/murderer Wayne Williams gets to live and breath the air while Troy Davis, who only killed one man, gets to die tonight. I am not saying that Troy Davis does not deserve his sentence, it just seems wacked! Tonight, while Troy Davis is taking his last breath, Wayne Williams will get something to eat, maybe read and watch some TV. And if decides to, before lights out, he will get a little high. And before his buzz wears off, he will think about one of his victim's last breath, while he indulges himself.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpe111

      So you are not one of those that cry out "Better to die free than lice as a slave" ? .... you would prefer to live as a slave ?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama2012

      I agree the justice system is so unfair. I say KILL EM ALL!

      September 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. marsmotel

    They need to put this on TV. The whole day. We get to see what a murderer does on his last day on Earth. I want to watch the needle go in him. I think I have a new reality TV show here.

    September 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leni

    Look, it's not like Davis is some innocent bystander chosen at random. He was with the other guy harassing the homeless man, had been involved in an earlier shooting that same night, and had a long criminal history. If it wasn't him and in fact the other guy who did the actual shooting, I'd say Mr Davis was at least equally responsible for creating the situation which caused the death of the officer. Also, this doesn't even begin to address the evidence of the bloody shorts that were found in Davis clothes dryer by the police at 1:AM. Just because the judge ruled that the police didn't have a proper search warrant when the shorts were found doesn't make the evidence less significant. I'm against the death penalty, but these are the facts of the case. Sometimes we create our own Karma, and it sounds like Davis did just that.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
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