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. Purple haze

    It blows my mind that people jump on any bandwagon before there are facts. Don't you liberals ever feel stupid as hell? No one knows the entire facts of this case, all of the people that claim his innocence are a bunch of puppets. Idiots. The facts that are out there for the public to see show this: 1) the low life fled to Atlanta after the shooting but first stopped off at mama's house to wash his bloody shorts at 10pm at night and then left them in her dryer. This dummy would have been better off had he just burned them what a freak. 2) he was convicted by 7 blacks and 5 whites. Ba ha ha ha ha..there goes your race card, everybody know that black folk stick together like glue whether someone is innocent or not so if he was convicted in less than 2 hrs by black people that mo fo is guilty!!! 3) Why did it take 18 yrs for witnesses to racant their stories? Hmmmmmmmm. 4) This guy was not exactly the pillar of society as a matter of fact he took alot of flack from his drug buddies for bringing so much attention to the case and interfering with drug "business". Yeah, this is innocent, I say let him go and I hope he shoots all your stupid family in the face afterwards. Idiots.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lyn

    On the day Officer MacPhail was killed, Troy Davis shot another man in the face. Troy Davis and his defense team have never appealed his conviction for that earlier shooting. The shell casings from the earlier shooting match the shell casings from the MacPhail shooting. To those who say there is no physical evidence against Davis in the murder of MacPhail – you are showing a lack of basic knowledge of the facts of the case.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lee

    Sounds like as typical, the cops got A man. A disturbing fact is how that many people felt coerced enough by the police to lie, to point of costing a man his life. Since this case required no material evidence and just witness testimony it seems the cops can now put charges on anyone if they can get together enough "witnesses" they can successfully intimidate to say what they want.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. PEACE


    September 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      No, your spelling is "preposterous".

      September 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jarrod Henry

      You mean this parole board?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      "You mean this parole board?"_____________________________________________ I am sure you'd be joining Davis should you try to harm anyone on the parole board.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bel

    There was no physical evidence linking him to the crime, witnesses' testimony appears to have been unreliable even a former President and former head of FBI believe his guilt isn't proven beyond reasonable doubt. It seems late in the day for a request for a polygraph but he must be confident of passing it. Why deny it, while not legally valid it would provide indication of innocence if he is not guilty. There really does seem too much reason to doubt in this case, and executing someone whose guilt is not 100 certain is a terrible thing to do. It's not as if people are demanding his release, just a reassessment of facts if recent evidence adds to view that he isn't guilty.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Isabella

      Shell casings from his own gun??? are those not considered evidence?? the fact that he ran and hid and fought when police did find him?? COME ON>>> My Georgia Tax dollars have spent enough to keep him alive. I would not be so cruel had my husband not been a police officer in Savannah and working that night.... to this day I will NEVER erase Mac's face from my memory when I saw him lying in that coffin, with makeup over his eye to try to cover where the gunshot went in. You would certainly have a different look on things if it were your family member or one your best friends... Stop allowing criminals to get away with things.... or crime is going to take over. AND as for the witnesses changing their story, how about the fact that they were threatened by his family members or buddies of his gang?? Come on people...

      September 21, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. geraldine Drewlo

    If we have any doubt about this man, we need to save his life. Remember that whom ever flips the switch will be accountable to God some day. Too many people think he is innocent. If he is guilty God will hold him accountable someday . Lets all pray for this man. Ask Jesus into your life right now. Please prepare yourself for your eternal life someday in heaven.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      my god is satan and he will reward me for pulling the switch

      September 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PEACE


    September 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    @Dave in Ga. They're in the same place pro choicer's who don't believe in the death penalty whenever an unborn child is murdered.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Erica Sage

    He deserves a second chance! A woman can kill her kids and walk away from it, he definitely deserves a second chance for SOMETHING HE DIDNT DO!! He was only forced to confess so they can give him a slight sentencing, not death. God be with him always </3

    September 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nathan Bedford

    Na, na, na, hey, hey, hey, good-bye! I thought those kids in Mississippi ran over this dude.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Reynaldo Gil

    Has anyone looked at the background of the Georgia Parole Board members? Two of the five are from the prison industry; one from law enforcement; one a prosecutor; one a politician. How does this board represent the citizens of the state or this country? Is this really a jury of "peers" able to consider clemency? I don't think so. Why has the news industry ignored this biased board?

    September 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fergodsake

    that's us, the only "developed" nation that still murders people in the name of justice....

    September 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |

    all of you people on here making your racist comments are JUST SAD. the color of the mans skin shouldnt matter the fact of his guilt or innocence should. if you have 7 out of 9 people saying i lied or the police made me say what i did shouldnt that be looked into. all of the chicken and watermelon comments have nothing to do with the situation at hand so do me a favor and go find something else to do with your time besides trying to spread nonsense. if you are so sure he did it give the man the polygraph test that he is asking for give these witnesses who are recanting their statements one too. its sad that the internet is the only place where most of you feel brave enough to say this nonsense that you do

    September 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tee

      It's not the color of skin, it's the actions.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Purple haze

    I forgot to mention that this is definitely definitely George Bush's fault.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JustUsSucks

    I cannot believe the idiotic comments on this site about this man Troy Davis. I do not believe that he should be executed, there is no substantial evidence that says he is GUILTY. Someone said that 7 of the people on the jury were BLACK, well were is the jury now. They have recanted there stories on several occassions. It is sad that a man had to die, yes I agree, however the man that they are going to execute because of it may in FACT not be guilty of the crime. Could you live with yourself knowing that this man died and innocent man? I know that I couldn't and I WOULD NOT want it on my conscious if I were any of the people on the Board of Parole. And to the McPhail family, really....I saw your news interview and your daughter is a DRAMA QUEEN!!! Really like she was performing for the cameras, and his mother is just an awful old woman that believes Troy Davis is guilty. Probably still uses the "N word" whenever she sees Black/ African Americans. The entire story is sad to me.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      now the lib nuts have changed the story to 7 members of the jury have changed their mind, goes to show you how brainwashed libs are and how easily manipulated they are

      September 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Purple haze

      The witnesses recanted their stories ya moron not the jurors. Get with it McFly what is your IQ like 60? You're stereotyping this dead guys mom. Seriously? Just explain why it take 18 yrs for yo people to recant they stories?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
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