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.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[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. Democrat for Life

    Now this is just boring news. Is there anything new about Lindsay Lohan?

    September 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff M.

    Supreme Court, please use this case to put an end to our current system of justice. A system that takes 20 years to ferret out a death penalty is no system at all. A system where the color of your skin is a reliable predictor of whether you will face the death penalty is an unjust system.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ariel Eliahou

    From the info that I collected about Davis he is not guilty, as 7 out of 9, eyewitneses changed their testemony, and sayed in court, that it is not him that killed the police officer, when looking at him,in his Troy Davis eyes,and reading the nfo. about this case, I think that, he had nothing to do with that murder, and he has to be granted,his apeal. In my opinion, he deserves a re trail, with all the evidence, and eye witneses, as 7 out of 9 said that they are not sure that it is him,and or, it is not him, this means, that,by law,it is clear,after more then 20 years that he is punished in jale, there has to be a fair, end to this, it is not allowed,and,or asume, that it is him for sure,if the evidence are not strong,to show that. Although he was accused,and was ordered by the judge,as to be sentenced to death, there is a big dought that Mr.Davis is really the killer, so it is not allowed to take his life away, he has to be released back to his cell, with an explanation, and a decision has to be made,of an appeal,and do a real check, I just heared, that there is no DNA evidence,and no real evidence, and that the police pressured the eye witness,at first to say that it is him, later 7 eye witnesess changed their testimony, and told the truth that the police pressured them that Davis is the shooter, as they did not really see that. All this says that he has to be off the death row,and his case, reopened. He deserves another fare trail. Executing him is wrong,and could be a big big mistake of the USA court of law.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Democrat for Life

      The Democratic Party and Moscow both say you are wrong.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DT1979

      I don't want to be the grammar police. However, when you post something as poorly written as the mass of words you submitted, no one will take anything you attempted to write seriously. Does your computer have spell check at the least?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Raebo

    Lets be honest here
    Most black people hate white peoples guts.

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

      And this is probably why.... u talk and dont make sense.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh M

      and blacks are not 'people'. They are filthy, disgusting apes

      September 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • ann25

      that is far from the truth!! You shouldn't sterotype people like that. it all bout fairness and most people in all reality only care about themselves it has nothing to do with being black white mexican or any other race

      September 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth

      no its the other way around

      September 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Boobyface

    The court case and the crap fed to the public are completely different. He shot a man in the face then beat a man in a store then shot a cop who tried to stop him three times. Once in the face when he was on the ground. He was a menace. A white man was just executed in Texas an hour or so ago for dragging a black man to his death in 1998. No one complained about that execution that I can tell.

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

      there was no evidence saying JAMES didnt drag the black man and paint his face and cut his throat. IT DID HAPPEN and there was proof???? DUH

      September 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth

      he has evidence against him thats why

      September 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sam

      Its not in the spirit of this great nation to put down an individual if there is considerable doubt. You just cant make any one a scape goat in the name of Justice. Especially since the majority of the witness has changed their stories, it would be a grave mistake to put down an innocent man. If Casey Anthony can go free, I guess this individual needs to be given a 2nd chance. Also its not an equation between white and non-whites...justice needs to be fare whatever be the color of the skin.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • TO BoobyFace

      When the witnesses stated what they said in the court case they were intimidated and pressured by police... What part of that are you not understanding? How can you convict a person when police misconduct is so apparent. You are a racist...sophisticated but nonetheless a racist.

      From a White Man

      September 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mike from Calgary

    China votes to execute. North Korea votes to execute. Iran votes to execute. Illinois says what about all those men about wom juries were convinced beyond doubt of guilt ... but who were dead wrong.
    Only problem with capital punishment was that the innocent man was dead and the jury was wrong. DNA after DNA case has shown how wrong juries can be. Illinois displayed a profound grasp of the obvious injustice wrought by police and prosecutors in a systematic fashion and imposed a moratorium.
    PS. Note today on CNN that police were charged with beating man to death (don't recall the state). Fabricating evidence and extorting testimony is small potatoes!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leftism is a mental disease

      Illinois gave us Obama. Case closed LOL

      September 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tanya

    we actually like collard greens fried chicken watermelon and orange koolaide. get a life

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

    The Entire World is Watching this Case and Judging our Judicial System and it Citizens by it!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Smith


    September 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • HereToFight

      He has been proven guilty, try to keep up

      September 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derrique Stuckey

      He WAS proven guilty...over and over and over again.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leftism is a mental disease

      I realize this is a big leap for you lefties, but the guy has ALREADY BEEN PROVEN GUILTY.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Megan

      He was FOUND guilty, not PROVEN guilty. Evidence has come to light since the jury trials that casts doubt on his guilt. The whole world is focused on this case for that reason. Both liberals and conservatives have joined in the outcry for a fair trial.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Justus

    Why is the Supreme Court involved in this at all? They don't have anything to say in other executions, why this one????

    September 21, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marv

      If you're going to say something stupid, well... Supreme Court is involved in a lot of these.,..

      September 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. long


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

    Without reasonable doubt. Isn't that why Casey Anthony is free? Only this man and God truely knows if this man is guilty, yet we think it's right to kill him? He has been in prison all this time, what's the harm in letting him stay if he's found guilty? Many of black men/women are killed by police and they are somehow aquitted. The comments just reaffirms everything that I already knew and that rasism is alive and well!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tanya

      say it again

      September 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Josh M

    Those who want this killer to live- how about directing that concern for life to the miillions of unborn babies murdered every day by the liberal abortion industry?

    September 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jremo

      Wow what does abortion have to do with troy davis. Your arguement is irrevalent. Troy davis should be given a fair retrial to see if he's innocent or guilty.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Electra

      Josh M., you are so right. If you believe in the value of life, It is hypocritical to be both for abortion and against the death penalty. It is equally hypocritical to call yourself pro life while supporting the death penalty.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dot8

    If there was no DNA, and if witnesses are changing their minds then this execution needs to be halted immediately and have the case retried regardless of Georgia law. The whole justice system is all screwed up to begin with.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • HereToFight

      Unless the credibility and account of what took place from the one remaining witness that has not changed their story is damning enough to cast no doubt on the previous conviction. People keep conveniently forgetting that one witness and ignoring the fact that there is SOMETHING about this case that is not being released to the public that explains why this has been rejected time and time again

      September 21, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Melinda Beindorf

    From the innocence project: The Supreme Court has rejected the appeal for a stay of execution for Troy Davis! :'(

    September 21, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marv

      there is no report of this on their website. Liar.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
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