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. Jeffro

    I believe in our judicial system. Guilty beyond reasonable doubt means guilty. My dad was in law enforcement and always talked about how much evidence they needed to convict. The evidence was there, the verdict was handed down, and now the consequence needs to be followed through with. The media has made such a mess of this whole case!.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Don

    Talk about racism. Hardly any talk of the dead white police officer and their family. Biased CNN?????? Racism lives on in America and it's not white people.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    I think its sad and obvious that not one of you people sympathetic to this mans case have any idea what the appeals process is like. It is lengthy, repetative and goes on for decades despite the pain of the real victims family. Whats even more bizarre is that not one of you has any sympathy for the unfortunate officer that was killed by him. You are all a disgrace.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |


    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnathan Forrest

      Kill this murderer; quit f^%$%^ around; and get it done...........................and wrap his body in a confederate flag; compliments of the white boys under the hood;

      September 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Brian

    Who gives the right to say "your sentenced to death by leathal injection???????????

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |

    The man is being tortured by this on off on off decision. Your going to die in an hour, oh wait your not, oh now you are, nope , yup, hope, yup (oh sorry meant nope not hope, that's Obama's line).......Let him die in peace already.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Svansong

    What is Davis's alibi? Hard to find an explanation in the latest media reports.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • tedbohne

      only for an idiot

      September 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • HereToFight

      His alibi? "I didn't do it", though he was at the scene of the crime.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. carrotroot

    The problem with this Troy Davis case is that many of the witness have recanted their accounts of what happened. Now who knows? They maybe executing a man who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • HereToFight

      People are too hung up on the number of witnesses that recanted and remember that there is still one (credible) witness who has not. Considering a black president and multiple courts (with judges that have been appointed by said black president) have upheld the finding that this guy is "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt", a logical person would assume that there is greater weight and validity given to the one witness that has not recanted. Enough weight and validity to keep this execution going. One witness standing right next to a shooter when he pulls the trigger should have a lot more influence on the out come of a trail than 10,000 people 1/2 a mile away. I find a scenario like this to be far more likely than the simple-minded "omg everyone is racist and they did this on purpose and racist racist racist racist blablablabalbalblaalblba"

      September 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Juleps

    Well obviously 7TX, he/she might well be 14 years old is the point. The last time I checked they can access the internet and type.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Justin

    One less killer in the world!!! Whoooo hooooo!!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      And just how many "killers" are going to participate in taking this mans life? Lose one, gain more.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh M

      I think many liberals see this guy as a hero BECAUSE he killed a white police officer.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • roxie35

      Your are stupid!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Master

    May God bless this nation and the Trash that live in it. The sick trash that calls for the death of an innocent man.God is on our side at this moment.Dont stop praying and Chanting for you rights on this earth.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      It's alright that he killed a white police officer?????

      September 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      and your sure he is innocent huh? wow what evidence do you have that states that. is it because a few people came forward after being bribed and threatened to? great! let him live. you can pay to keep him alive for the rest of his life while he sits in prison. or jeez, let's just free him all together so he can be a valuable and contributing member of society and kill another innocent person.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PEACE


    September 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justice Finally

      All 7 of 34 total witnesses. They did the right thing, 4 times now.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Don

    CNN, what about the white police officers family??????? You sure are covering the black side of it. I wonder why????

    September 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh M

      The killer is painted as a victim because he's black. The murdered police officer and his family are painted as a villian because they're white. This is a classic example of reverse discrimination in the liberal media

      September 21, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • carrotroot

      Hi race is not the issue here. The problem is the original witnesses changed their story and said that Davis didn't kill the officer. Now to say we need to proceed with the execution seems a bit wrong headed in light of this new information.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Canada calling

      Folks, a white man was just executed in Texas about 2 hours ago for killing a black man. I think if Davis hurt people he should fry like the white guy that hurt someone. A criminal is a criminal. Stop focusing on this and rally your government to clean up your country thats falling apart!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*Tiffany Kwak

      Obama stepped in helped hos harvard professor. Not that this was the same but Troy Davis was helping a homeless man in the parking lot. This not about colot or jusrice system this about one man who stepped up. And unless you are Gpd you do not know where Troy Davis will be after tonight. Jeses died on the cross for scrum like you.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shelley

      I agree. Let me pull the race card on this. Lawrence Russell Brewer (a white man) was executed Wednesday evening for the infamous dragging death slaying of James Byrd Jr., a black man. No one protested this execution. Yet, there is to much "doubt" about this black killer Davis, of a white policeman, Officer McPhail. Further, Davis has been on death row for 22 yrs, Brewer 13 yrs. Why in the hell didn't Davis's supporters start this BS twenty yrs. ago. The only thing that should be considered is what this officer's family has been through. This POS should be executed.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Josh M

    I hope Satan his the fires roaring, because if this animal is put down tonight, he will soon burn in the fires of Hell. An eternity of torture and suffereing awaits this killer. I hoipe he dies screaming. If he turns to jesus, Jesus might take pity and save him, but i hope not.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eve

      Even if he did do it (I think not), he turned to Jesus LONG AGO and preaches Christ in prison; how DARE you wish hell on this man innocent or not!!!!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. randy

    can we not people leagally anymore if they killed my family the goverment wouldnt have to keep them up for twenty years God Bless America

    September 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
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