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. Rachel

    They will probably make a movie out of it and lots of people will make lots of money depicting what a great man Davis was and he was more innocent than snow white . The reason he was killed is : he was Black and that the evil racist white society killed him.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Monique Van Buren

    I served MY country swore to fight and kill if need be for AMERICA, If the justice system does not work for Troy Davis then it wont work for ME or YOU! Everything we stand for, Everything was built on is a LIE #IamTroyDavis

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

    Getting him back to his cell, and deciding to give Mr. Davis a last chance, will mean that the USA court is fair,and human,and will show the world, that there is real justice in USA, as it says in the old testement- Don`t kill! You cannot just kill him, if the eye witness said the truth that they did not see Mr. Davis shoot, and the police did not find any DNA or real evidence to justify Mr. Davis as the one who shot that man. There for, because of these facts, it is not allowed to execute Mr. Davis, as it is against all rules of humanity,and justice.
    In my opinion, Mr. Davis has to be re trailed, as even by the rules of the USA jusice system, he has the right to another fair trail,and or full review of his case, from a to z.
    I hope that he is given another chance, and a step like this, will prove that there is a true and fair justice court and such a difficult murder case.
    Thank you

    September 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • mar montes

      you are totally right Lion of God . Ari

      October 3, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. randy

    is over yet hope nothing gets tore up in ga like it did in cal lol

    September 21, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    I feel compassion for the victims family and pray for their solace, but the mother, rightfully so, is looking for retribution, however she doesn't seem to care who pays the price. It's a burden of guilt she probably couldn't live with if it were to be found out that Davis was not guilty after all.

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

    Just do it already. He is gonna get hungry again if we wait.

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

    Sooner or later, although I think it's probably already happened (more than once) we're going to execute a person who is proven to be innocent. Maybe then, people will wake up and decide that this is the one punishment we can't take back if we get it wrong.

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

    You better hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo husbands cause they executin' everybody out here.

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

      Troy Davis 2012 !!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ann25

    why u keep calling him an ape? cause he's black? did a black person do something to you? or was you raised to think that way? you sound real ignorant with your comments

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

    Why is this criminal still alive? Kill it already!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dallas

      hope you never ever put down other Countries for their inhumane actions, maybe YOU should go join the Taliban you are twisted sick with that comment, wow i can't even find words to say to you...ick

      September 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • BK

      Because we should just kill the first person we see, it doesn't really matter if they were guilty or not.

      Careful, one day you might be accused of something you didn't do too, it happens all the time.

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

      you should be too.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Tom

    -On August 28, 1991, the jury, composed of seven blacks and five whites, took under two hours to find Davis guilty on one count of murder and the other offenses. (
    So this shouldn't be a race issue.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      They have HOPE now on Death Row that there is a half black presidente' at the top pressing buttons.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      It's a legal issue.

      Of course there would be no reasonable doubt, they had ballistics evidence linking Troy Davis to the bullets that killed Mcphail. In addition, they had 9 witnesses who claimed he did it. Easy decision.

      Now we find out: That ballistics evidence does NOT tie Davis to the murder, and 7/9 witnesses were coerced or threatened by police into testifying against Davis.

      Do you think that with 2 witnesses saying he did it, and no physical evidence, and 9 signed affidavits from witnesses claiming the real killer was someone else, that Troy would still have been found guilty?

      September 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • HereToFight

      You're right, it really shouldn't, but we must remember that in today's America if anything happens to a person that is not white, and there is a white person involved in anyway, shape, or form....its racism.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Smart

    Those of you doubting this conviction: were in the courtroom when the evidence was presented or is you opinion based on the one-sided story being fed to you by death penalty opponants?

    September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarter

      Were you in the courtroom, Smart, or are you believing everything you are being fed by death penalty proponents and the "feelings" of Mr. McPhail's mother?

      (PS: I think you meant 'opponents'.)

      September 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • SB

      So you were in the court room and that's why you support the decision? Don't use an argument that can be easily turned against you.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      The issue is not whether or not the jury should have convicted.
      The issue is that they convicted are incorrect evidence.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ashley

    @ mike im not going to argue with your ass clearly because you must be someone unhappy sitting behind the computer so bye!

    September 21, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edna

      Sooooooo...............K Bye!

      September 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim

    kill him, hes guilty if the other recanted there testomny,send them to prision for ot telling the truth.

    September 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Old West

      Wait... send them to prison for lies, but also kill him based on those lies? That makes no sense....

      September 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. KT

    This case only highlights what I've felt for years; the death penalty is wrong. While restorative justice is not appropriate for all criminals, for a majority it is the path of an enlightened society. Please consider watching or reading "Dhamma Brothers," a film and book that deals with real life criminals, the families they've hurt, and the process of both serving their time and healing. Another fabulous film is, "A Nights Long Jouney into Day."

    I think what we should all ask ourselves is what would we want for ourselves and our families if we were murdered. I would want my family to forgive them (as much as that would be possible) and move on with their lives. I would want my killer to be punished, but I wouldn't want them put to death. I think God should choose that time. Perhaps, somepoint over the decades that they spend in jail, they'll come to understand what they did, the pain that they caused, and all the common sense truths that were lost to them. Who am I to take that away from them? Who am I to play God?

    September 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      You don't know how God feels. Try opening the Book some time. You will see that those guilty of murder in the past were commanded to be put to death. God hasn't changed. Only 'evolutionary' man has... he's gotten worse.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • KT

      You're right, I don't know how God feels. That was my point. I understand your point of view, and your frustration, but I stand by my conviction.

      September 21, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
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