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. Calli

    The average number of years an inmate is on death row is 17 years. During this time, fees are being accrued, either by the lawyers, or just by housing the offender. It costs on average of $50,000 per inmate per year to house them, times this by the number of inmates in all states and it is astounding.

    Perhaps if we went back to the old days of judge, jury, and hanging then the budget deficit would be fixed in this country. Definately cheaper!!! Also this would deter criminals from performing these heinous acts.

    Whether this man commited the crime or not is beyond me, but people need to pull their heads from their rear ends and see that, this goes deeper than one man. Neither black, white, hispanic, asian or any other race is above the law, and if things were done the way they were years ago, a lot of our problems today would be fixed.

    These people don't value their live or others when they commit crimes. Why should we rally around them to extend their life? An eye for an eye...

    September 21, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Did you ever think when you were a kid that some day you would grow up to be the kind of person that starts yammering on about budgets and financial statistics when asked about the governnment sanctioned murder of a human being?

      September 21, 2011 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Calli

      @ Mark: No what child would, so that is a stupid question to ask. Idiot!!

      September 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      P.S. None of our problems would be fixed. In fact if you actually understood the monetary system you would realize that housing prisoners and keeping them alive is quite a big business in the U.S.. You could execute every last prisoner tomorrow and I guarantee you won't see a dime of that money. It will still find it's way in to the pockets of the same damn people who oddly enough are also the same damn people who are telling you your broke now!

      September 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Calli

      I have worked in the prison system so I know about how it operates. I have worked with offenders who write bad checks to murderers on death row. The point being is that a lot of the individuals being housed aren't going to get better in society so why try and fix them?

      Try them on day one, sentence them on day two, and be done with them on day three. The point I was trying to make, which you obviously missed, is that if we did things the way it was done a long time ago it would deter criminals from commiting violent acts of crime. Perhaps they would see that what they are about to do, isn't worth losing their own life over.

      Your right, it is a big source of revenue, but how many prisons are being forced to shut down because they can't afford to house these individuals?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      If you want to go back to the days where people were convicted based on ignorance and intolerance and then taken outside and strangled to death with a rope before sunrise then good luck to you. You should do a little research in to some of the many many cases of people wrongly imprisoned or executed. You should also research the many many people who actually do change and turn their lives around. It's not up to us to judge people with that kind of finality
      The real blame lies in the prison system itself. It's nothing but a mob racket for people like Jeb Bush. Prison is a crap hole where mentally unhealthy people go to be tortured by a sociopathic system for a few years only to be released back in to the public even more buggered up then before.
      If you want to revolutionize the prison system and the country then make drugs legal. Release all the inmates serving ridiculous sentences for drug possession and put an end to drug gangs by taking away their biggest source of revenue. All these things CAN'T be done however because the real criminals are in government and big business. They make the laws.
      What the hell is hanging a few people out of spite going to do to fix anything? A story like this does nothing but deaden a societies decency. A cold beurocratic system has been playing chicken with this guys life for decades and it's sick! Even more sickenning is that it happens all the time and every now and then it's done in error! If you can live with that then I don't know what to say.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Justice

    Its all about Justice and NOT about welfare and food stamps. A convicted murderer. Finish him off.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Derrique Stuckey

    Brewer (the other guy slotted to be executed tonight) just bought the farm. Considering he was white, the system must not be completely broken. Lol.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      I am white, its not aout the color... its about the stupidity... EYE FOR AN EYE

      September 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bob

    I too support the death penalty but THERE IS NO PROOF like Casey Anthony case.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      No proof???? After a two-week trial with 34 witnesses for the state and six witnesses for the defense, the jury of seven blacks and five whites took less than two hours to convict Davis of Officer Mark MacPhail's murder, as well as various other crimes. Two days later, the jury sentenced Davis to death.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Deelanz

    What is going on in this mans brain right now? "So Am I gonna die, or what?'

    September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Who cares?

      September 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. G Wiz the Great

    Chris Loves Black Guys.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Popsicle

    How can so many people who did not sit through the trial, hear the evidence and consider the law proscribe by the Judge be so certain a man should die when many of the convicting witnesses have recanted? Doesn't that create "reasonable doubt" for reasonable people? Shame on the "kill him now" crowd. Justice does not punch a time clock. Patience is a virtue.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      No. People forget things over time. During the trial they were pretty damned sure of what they saw or they wouldn't have said it. His lawyers did a damn good job of confusing them after the fact.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chris

    Blacks commit the vast majority of crime including violent crime in the country and they are only 13% of the population. If you go by race, the fact that he is black makes his guilt even more obvious.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • G Wiz the Great

      And what explains your ignorance?

      September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Your intelligence really shines through in that comment.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • KB

      Wow, Chris, you must be a bitter racist. Actually, blacks do not commit the most crime in America, white people do. Maybe you should really check the facts before you start talking about stuff you don't know anything about. I say free Troy Davis and let's convict the guy who really committed the crime.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tyler the Creator

      I bet your Great Great Grands were the ones who killed Abraham Lincoln when he freed the slaves huh?

      September 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Smith

      So by your reasoning, every time a Caucasian is accused of being a serial killer or pedophile, then he is automatically guilty as that is the empirical evidence for those crimes. There... I just managed to make an ignorant and stupid remark - just like you. I am surprised you know how to even read.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. us1776

    Death is not a penalty. It is a painless exit.

    Life-in-prison is a penalty !!


    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Justice

    Put this guy down already! He killed a cop! A family man! A good man! He did it and all you want to do is make it a race issue.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • G Wiz the Great

      @Justice, Your the reason why White People are a 1,000 steps behind Woody Allen.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Johnnynothumbs


    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Some Guy

    It's funny how all the people protesting this execution are black.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sherri

      First of all, I don't see anything 'funny' about it, and second of all, I am also protesting it, but I'm as white as a lily pad.

      September 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike

    "'they" just executed a white man in Texas for killing a black man. No one cares about that though. Just free the black guy and screw the cop and his family.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Elisa Riedo

    Please, let's make US a civilized country

    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sorrowmate

    even if he did the crime why is he been executed when some are awarded with life imprisonment sentences in cases where officers are killed.

    September 21, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
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