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. morbus gravis

    the good news is he will be put to death soon and all the lib nuts can go back home. they will cry and go boo hoo. a dirty dog got killed. i cant wait until they execute him so i dont have to read about him any more

    September 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. caesar

    'go ahead and kill him if you ain't gonna let him free ' god will take care of em' some of us ain't afraid of what we cannot control when our lives on this soil ain't our own ' Troy the lord awaits you brother 19 yrs is long enough in a american prison or any other for a crime you did not commit' This is gods plan and he 's allowing this to take place just as the romans and jews crucified our black jesus ' we know you satan and who you work thru and your time is coming and you know it ' Brother Troy Davis was selected by god as a lamb of god ' and when his life is taken you shall harm him no more ' Oh god grant me peace in this time of sorrow for they know not what they do ' I ask this in the name of the merciful allah himself '

    September 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andrew

    the Prosecutor said yesterday, that Davis did another (but non-fatal) shooting in Savanah GA same night, same gun shell casings were found, which he was convicted of in a separate trial. Now, what's the chance same night in a small city like Savanah a guy had same gun and was violent enough to use it (shoot someone else). Its far more likely if you accept he was guilty of the non-fatal earlier shooting, that he also shot the Cop to death later that night when the cop cornered him.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nordic Jim

      They don't have god's own clue if it was the same gun or not, they screwed up the evidence so badly. Do you believe a cop would ever lie?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Maurice Clemmons

    Why isn't this POS dead yet? How long do the families of slain law enforcement officers have to wait for justice?

    September 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nordic Jim

      Justice or revenge?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Predictor1

    This is the same state that refuse to apologize for the wrongful conviction of Leo Frank in 1914. I believe Troy Davis should face life in prison because their is a 1% doubt he didn't do it. It is more cost effective anyway and is a harsher punishment

    September 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nordic Jim

      Yours is the reasonable, moral approach. It holds no sway in Georgia.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom Thumb

    I would hang myself with my underwear and not give those guys the pleasure of killing me, guilty or not!

    September 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sam

    He's just another guilty convict with a freaking sob story. Oh and heaven forbid he's black.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexa

      really, can you please explain to me the rationale in Casey Anthony being allowed to walk but this guy has to die when there is no physical evidence against him?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • bird55

      I am sick of the press coverage on Troy Davis............ they fail to talk about how he ran for 18 mos. and was apprehended in Atlanta at his mothers home, with gun powder on his hands. And if thats not enough, blood on his trousers, but that evidence has been destroyed.He is GUILTY AS CHARGED AND HAS BEEN PRIVIILIGED TO LIVE SINCE 1989 WHEN THIS HAPPENED. AND IT WAS SAID ALL WITNESSES RECANTED THIER TESTAMONY, BUT IN FACT NOT ALL RECANTED............ HE WAS WEARING A SHIRT THAT READ R.A.H. ON IT AND WAS ASKED WHAT IT MEANT, ROUGH AS HELL HE REPLIED. THE PRESS NEEDS TO GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT. JUSTICE FOR THE MCPHAIL FAMILY IS LONG OVERDUE.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jody

    May God give Troy peace, strength, and courage tonight. I pray the Lord will be in the room with him through this process and the next face he sees is that of Jesus coming in all his glory. If it's not God's will for him to be exonerated, Lord please save him. My prayers go out as well to the family of the murdered officer as they continue to wade through their deep and tragic loss.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • WiseOne

      First, after he is dead he will not see God ... He will meet the angel of death ... Second, Jesus will not be there to greet him as Jesus is alive and in heaven witin to come back and kill the Anti Christ ... get your concepts right

      September 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • bgd


      September 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      I believe God speaks through the hearts of man..And if man isn't listening or has hardened his heart.. Then some thing like an innocent person being persecuted, executed , harmed or not helped.. Is the outcome..
      Who is God calling on to save this man?
      That person is the one that needs to listen..
      AND if he is guilty.. Then maybe God isn't calling on anyone..
      Dont' know.. But I do know..God speaks.. People need to be listening...

      September 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • bgd

      Mary...go back to reading your fairytales of God and all the Philistine

      September 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ObjectiveOpinion

    So witnesses have changed testimony. I would say the moral of the story is you don't lie under oath. Charge these people with perjury, and toast Davis, as he is guilty. Bottom line, don't do things that are against the law.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      "ObjectiveOpinion" what a joke.
      Your arrogance is demonstrated by your choice of screen names, and belies your skewed perspective even before anyone even reads whatever words you have chosen to write as an "ObjectiveOpinion"; as if God appointed you the sole purveyor of "Objectiveness"!

      September 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alexa

      Wait, what!? So you want to arrest the people who have recanted for lying under oath AND you want Troy Davis to die anyway even though you think the people who have recanted are telling the truth about his innocence? Tell the truth – Are you high right now?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. retrostar1000

    Although it feels good for the moment, the death penalty does not deter crime, nor does it give any lasting closure to the victims' loved ones.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      it deters the people it is administered to and is not about deterrence it's about justice some crimes deserve the ultimate price.

      September 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Maude

    You blood thirsty leeches. Leave this black man alone. This is purely black and white issue. I hope one day god's wrath will felt by each and everyone of you who was involved with this injustice. He said he didn't do it. All of the witness now say they have made a mistake- What else do you need ! You people are killing this man for he is black.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      Maybe the "witnesses" should not have lied under oath. Never fails though that one would pull the race card....

      September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • cindy a

      Oh please, where was the justice shown for this police officer 20 years ago. Where was the justice for the other man he shot in the head earlier in the evening and where was the justice for the man he pistol whipped? I think they should rel;ease him into your personal custody so you can take him home and let him live with you and your family and make you 100% responsible for everything he does. You want to show up at the prison and sign those custody papers?

      September 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tafugate

    the american judicial system is greatly skewed toward favoring the accused. there can be a mountain of evidence, but if one shred comes into question, a jury is very likely to acquit. davis' case has been dissected for 20 years, he's exhausted all of his appeals, and it's time to meet his maker. i suppose his being too gutless to accept his fate isn't as bad as actually dying. but for sure, he won't be killing anyone else.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Disgusted

    My cat fell in love with our pet chicken and keeps trying to mate with him, not sure what to do about it. I'm not sure if a cat and chicken can procreate but if they did I wouldn't know whether to feed it cat food or chicken feed. I've lost several days off work worrying about it and now the dryer door is jammed and I can't find the algea that I just placed in the microwave. My pet turtle Pete wants to go to Catholic church but for now we have him at a Baptist church and learning all those prayers is just too much on me while I'm worrying about the algea in the dryer and my dent in the microwave and the cat and chicken mating. Pete is just going to have to keep going to the Baptist church even though they yell really loud and wake him up from his nap. Why do Baptists yell so loud in church, God, we're not all deaf. So any suggestions about what to do with the cat and the turtle mating?

    September 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mario

    As long as we execute someone justice is served! It's not like he needs to be guilty.

    September 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Haha!!

    Sweet there is good news today!!

    September 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
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