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. John

    Troy Davis... Casey Anthony?????????????

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  2. E Sincere

    I pray for Davis and his family. Cause only God can judge him. As for all the people that have him already crucified already. I pray for you as well because it takes a sick individual not to have mercy and compassion on a individual life. If the supposedly justice system is wrong and it is later provided. How do they fix the wrongful death? Money or cheap apology.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Do you speak english? You certainly don't write it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • nook

      I know that's right! Its crazy how probably many call themselves children of God...Don't realize how much mercy and compassion He has on us everyday. Especially those that know they're not living right! That's okay because He did say for us not to judge, and especially how can they judge without any concrete evidence. God have mercy on the person who dares to administer that injection because they are gonna need. You know they are gonna give a cheap apology if so. Sad sad sad!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BaltGeorge

    I am ok with the death penalty. However, if all these witnesses have recanted their testimony, how can they go through with this? Is it just because the victim was a policeman? Because someone must pay? Is it because the District Attorney can never ever admit being wrong in a high profile case? Really, this country needs political reform of all kinds. I hope that regular every day people realize that political powerbrokers and the ultra-wealthy minority are turning all the rest of us into slaves. This case (with all of this reasonable doubt) is just a microcosim of a huge situation that is consuming over 99 percent of the population. Please wake up before our children have zero chance for a decent life. I love my country, but I despise our corrupt government.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • paulronco

      From within the media I have been following this issue closely. From the perspective of facts, however, I admit I know quite little from either side. I am skeptical of the evidence, which as far as I know relies mostly on numerous eyewitnesses who have since recanted, and a testimony from a ballistics expert who said that shell cases from a gun earlier fired at an individual by Troy Davis matched the cases that were found at a later murder scene. I have never heard his supporters, including Amy Goodman, address the earlier shooting and explain why the ballistics evidence was wrong. I have never seen his opponents offer any "nutshell" of a logical argument explaining why they are "100% certain" he is the killer. How hard could that be to do?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
    • paulronco

      >> I am ok with the death penalty. However, if all these witnesses have recanted their testimony, how can they go through with this?

      You're okay with a fantasy version of the death penalty. The fact is, this is what the death penalty is. People rally behind it, sometimes for the wrong reasons. Sometimes innocent people will be killed as a result. You must either be for the death penalty for what it is, or be against it in all of its forms. There is no middle ground, because we've already reached middle ground. We've been practicing the death penalty for many, many hundreds of years. What we have today is about as humane and decent as the death penalty is ever going to be. Accept it for what it is: a failed system that can never be made to work in a compassionate and Christian society.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. John

    America has lost its way and is firmly in the hands of Satan. The board are his followers......Jesus said many will come in my name......

    September 21, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice Served

      Thanks John. I hope you have a nice day living your normal life uninterupted by anything like this family is going through.

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

      Justice Served, while I can't even imagine the kind of pain that family is going through, that doesn't make this acceptable. They might not even be killing the right guy, so how exactly is this justice for their son's murder? Hell, if Troy is innocent and they do this, where's the justice for Troy? MLK once said, "An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind." I can't help but feel that the investigation was rushed (as the cops saw it as an attack on their own) and that they just wanted to punish somebody. Troy has a criminal record and made other mistakes that night, so in their eyes, he's really the perfect suspect regardless of whether or not they have physical evidence of the crime. The real killer could be getting away while we fight about letting this man live or die – I'd like to know the sense in that.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  5. Puck

    After 20 years and all you can come up with is the witnesses have changed their mind?

    Here is something more interesting! CNN's story on "Which Rock Killed The Dinosaurs,The Plot Thickens". I thought they figured this out, no wait their witnesses recanted!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • lpseypm

      all the prosecution really had were those witnesses and some bullet shells. why haven't they come up with anything better??

      September 21, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jer

    Casey Anthony gets away with killing her daughter when members of the Jury say that she know she was guilty but it couldn't be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt but we're going to put a man to death when the witnesses in the case are all saying that their stories were not straight? Seriously?

    And I had hoped that racism was a dying way of life (this is coming from a white woman!).

    September 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • morbus gravis

      whats a shadow of a doubt?? please tell us, is that a new legal term?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • wildbynature

      I second this. (also from a white woman)

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Hartman

      *Some* of the witnesses recanted. We don't know why they recanted. There are all kinds of reasons a witness may change his/her story.

      In this case, I think the defense had more than enough of an opportunity to cast doubt on the prosecution's case. They even got a gift when the original judge excluded a piece of forensic evidence because of how the police got it.

      As someone else said, it's all well and good to oppose the death penalty, but death penalty opponents should pick a more worthwhile case.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Light In The Dark


    I'm sure it's always difficult (or impossible) to re-prove the guilt of a man twenty years after the crime. It should not be the State's burden to do so at the insistence of every liberal meathead that steps forward to contest the conviction
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** *

    I am a liberal.
    He is guilty.
    You are an azzhole.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Dribble

    I believe there is the same ratio of pusies in the US as there is in Canada.
    Some of them are on this board today.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tron

    The jutice system is so flawed. Someone posted that he was found to be guilty, so he must be punished. Casey Anthony was found to be not guilty. So I guess that she must be innocent.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Seriously

    Yes, in the good ol' days of tougher punishment, there was never any crime. Just look at all of those utopian societies with tough punishments that led to no crime.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  11. John

    I wonder what the Board members will say to GOD Almighty on their own day of judgment. May God Almighty show some mercy on their worthless souls....

    September 21, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Justice Served

      If you knew your bible God raised up nations (Cyrus) and Govs. to do his bidding!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Doesn't scripture record that God will show mercy only to those who show mercy themselves?

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

      god says to submit and obey your rulers in the bible.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Libra

    I just shake my head at some of these post I have seen today. Put your self in his shoes and his family shoes. Only God knows the truth. He's innocent and the judicial system knows it. They are afraid to say they dropped the ball and dont want to pay this man for time served. They have no evidence what so ever. I guess that what happens in the South if your skin tone isnt what they think it should be. I wouldn't kill an innocent man at the end of the day the judcial system will have to answer to God. Also, the ones making these outrageous comments will have to answer to God as well.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
  13. Dribble

    The jury has spoken.
    The Parole Board has spoken. There is no reasonable doubt where they are concerned. If public opinion were the deciding factor, Casey Anthony would have a cell on death row right now. There, I said it – a white woman who killed her daughter would be there now also, if justice were served by the sway of public opinion.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. Don Juan

    The evidence was weak then; it is even weaker now.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bruce

    I wonder what would happen if, tonight, the people charged with carrying out the execution of Troy Davis simply refused to do so, or even sabotaged the electric chair in a way to delay the execution for a day or two...

    September 21, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Bob

      Electric Chair, Bruce?

      You're one lefty I needn't fear. ; D

      September 21, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Oops... seems they changed the method to lethal injection in 2001. My bad. 😛

      September 21, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
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