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. DJTNT


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

      The problem is that the majority on the jury were black and they are not capable of making an informed decision.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark

    Hey, lets just add another lifer to the system that we will continue to pay for for the rest of our lives. Lets just keep filling our prison systems until they bust at the seams. countless appeals, more money more money being spent that we don't have. Well, the inmates i guess will continue to eat well, have a roof over their heads etc., etc, while the rest of us go broke, become homeless, jobless etc. etc. Another shinning example of our Government at work. It would be icing on the freakin cake if he were to be pardoned. It will fit in just right with the rest of the crap we are having to deal with now with our current administration.

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

      Actually, Mark, it costs more money to execute someone than it does to imprison them for life:

      Also, I find it telling that you are ignoring the fact that there is clearly reasonable doubt here. You seem fine with killing what could be an innocent man don't want to pay for his imprisonment? Then why not kill all prisoners?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tedbohne

    the people can shut this country down ANY TIME THEY WANT!!! HOW ABOUT RIGHT NOW!!!!

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

    quit wasting our tax money we dont have take care of America

    September 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • 7TX

      shut the fuuck up. If this man is to be put to death then it needs to be absolutely no doubt of his guilt.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. 7TX

    Well well well... looks like the Supreme Court will have the final word. Execution is temporarily haulted.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    I don't agree with the death penalty but here are some key facts you might not be getting from your local liberal media outlet.

    1. There were 34 witnesses ( not 9 as some are reporting) for the prosecution and 7 recanted... BUT...

    2. 3 of those who recanted were his friends, including one person who was just 5 feet from the crime and then later said he was no longer " sure" Sure buddy.

    3. 2 of those who recanted were refused a chance to testify by Davis' own attorneys despite the judges' warning that it was their only chance, suggesting that there change in stories would not hold under cross examination.

    4. 7 of the 12 jurors were black and they only took 2 hours to convict him. All of the witnesses were black.

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

      What's your point?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • rastaman44

      I am sure that you do not believe in the death penalty LOL

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

      @Whatever–if it's not clear to you, it probably never will be.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Our Justice System is such a joke. It is not to protect the innocent, it is to protect the guilty. This murder took place in 1989. Are you kidding me. And they are still appealling it. Think about how much money the attorneys made getting paid by the taxpayers. That is the real crime here. Time we start putting the crimminals on Death Row to death and stop letting the liberals control our justice system.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • fannyallred

      Crime lab tests proved that the shell casings recovered from the shooting of Michael Cooper at a party earlier in the evening were fired from the same weapon as the casings recovered from the scene of Officer Mark MacPhail's murder. Davis was convicted of shooting Cooper.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Intelligence

      Thank you John for sharing that. These are facts that as you can tell by "Whatever" obviously do not care about the facts. I pray they all find peace once justice is served.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      If the TRUE facts are reported there would be no story... See how mainstream media works.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Law Abiding Citizen

      It's funny how a person don't end up on death row by keeping his nose clean and not associating with criminals. You end up on death row when you become a THUG. No matter how this plays out, GOD will have the last say.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Fred

    Since Al Sharpton is there, that guy must be guilty....Sharpton is always wrong and is always pro-black, regardless of any other truthful information.

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

      Al Sharpton is so racist he can't see straight. Every convicted black person is being mistreated according to Al Sharpton. I get sick just looking at him.

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

    If all the appeals have found that there is no reason for a retrial then kill the man and if it was my family I would still feel the same way regardless of what the witness say the was forced into saying

    September 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Don

    Anderson Cooper, can you be anymore racally biased????? 90 % coverage for the black guy and 10% coverage for the white police officer. I'm not surprised since you work for CNN.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melinda Beindorf

      Not sure why I am on here........I agree Don.....Communist News Network!! Cooper is an idiot!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • ropo

      The police office is DEAD. What do you want? Coverage of his grave? They are covering Davis because he is still alive, and there continue to be developments regarding whether he will continue to be. There have no developments in the life of the cop because it ended two decades ago. To say that's racially biased is ridiculous.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jremo

      dude its not because he is black or white. What matters is that are some serious holes in this conviction. I don't care what color Davis is, he deserves a retrial based on an unfair trial and evidence and witnesses in doubt.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. AWhite

    I am kind of surprised how heartless people's comments are on here about this issue. I know we can all hide behind our computers and voice our opinions about Troy Davis' guilt. That is our right as American people.This is not a BLACK/WHITE issue this is a MORAL issue. It is also our right to be prosecuted justly. There is no justice for Troy Davis. There are witnesses that openly admit to lying on the stand stating that they witnessed Troy Davis kill Officer Mark MacPhail. We are to be convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. I believe when witnesses recant their statement it becomes an issue of reasonable doubt. At the very least he has the RIGHT to another trial.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sanity

      Because he had a trial before his peers. Who are you to question them? Were you there? Would you also deny others the right to vote?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • MB

      well said and completely agreed. it's amazing how we try to make this a racial issue, when at the end of the day its an issue with our justice system. "beyond a reasonable doubt" is the key phrase here...

      September 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    Executions are barbaric remnants of the past. The United States is the only civilized country that still has the death penalty. Makes you wonder.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Callmeishmael

      lol....U.S.?? Civilized?? Riiight. Since when?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sanity

      Maybe so, but it s still legal.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      There are actually 61 countries that still exercise the death penalty. Check the link below.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Good Stuff

    This is terrible what they are doing to this man. All this "You're set to die, no wait, you won't die, well, maybe you will, but not right now, um, you can expect to die within the next seven days." This must be torture for him. While his protestors outside are singing and rejoicing, he's sweating bullets inside the prison unsure of when he's going to die.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon Says

      they forgot to say.....

      September 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      Torture???? Good!!!!! That's what the white police officer and his family has been going through for years.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Macbool

    This murderer will be put to death by Laws of the State of Georgia, Amen.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. randy

    go to work and quit worring about shutting the country down we been doin this for a long time

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

      wastin tax money got to go to work in the morning dont no about yall

      September 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. elvis g

    cloud of uncertainty around this one,makes it hard to be fully convinced of this punishment. ultimate punishment should be completely clear of all that. there is something unanswered even till now about this one

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