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="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/topvideos/2011/09/21/jk-mattingly-davis-execution.cnn"%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="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2011/09/21/ac-annelie-macphail-davis-execution.cnn"%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="http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/politics/2011/09/21/vo-wh-troy-davis-protests.cnn"%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. Sanity

    Remember when the liberal world was conspiring to send the Duke Lacrosse players to jail for a crime that never happened? Suddenly the same folks are now defending a guy who was convicted by a jury. Oh, I forgot, the Duke guys are white.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Capercorn

      Thanks for playing the race-baiting game.

      Innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt has always been the mantra of the rank and file liberals.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bibs

    Hooray for the Supreme Court!

    September 21, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BEE

    I CAN'T WAIT UNTIL JUDGEMENT DAY!!! I HOPE ALL OF YOUR HEARTS GET IN THE RIGHT PLACE. ALL THE NAME CALLING IS VERY SHAMEFUL. LOVE ALL IN JESUS NAME. IF YOU DON'T KNOW JESUS, I PRAY YOU INTRODUCE YOUSELF TO HIM AND DON'T BE SUPRISED IF HE COMES TO YOU FIRST AND PUT A END TO ALL THE DISTRESS.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DB

    The early Christians were liberals, who shed orthodox ways and cared for life. Over 2000 yrs these Christians have produced a progeny whose only claim to Christianity is to birth in a Christian family but not the spirit. These are the very people who would happily crucify Christ given a chance. Those who support death penalty are vassals of the devil. Yes you are vile & inhuman.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mary

    As hard as it is for the officers Mother, she will get more peace in the long run..If all possibilities of guilt is explored.. If this man truly did not commit the crime.. Putting another mother through the agony of loosing her child, would haunt her the rest of her life..
    She would never find peace..
    If this man did not commit the crime, he deserves every opportunity to prove that..
    It's just shocking that anyone would put some one to death with so much doubt being raised as to his guilt..
    Hope the truth comes out and this is resolved for all..

    September 21, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    My god! I cant belive what the wife of the dead policeman is saying..!!: “I’m absolutely devastated because I want it over with. ...And "This delay, again, is very upsetting and I think very unfair to us." "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." What i have read about this case is that there are NO evidences...just some witnesses where 7 of 9 have changed their opinion. For whom is this unfaire??? An innocent man is about to get killed and loose his life because somone just want to " get it over with" This is unforgiveble!! For God's sake, save this man! Greetings from Norway!

    September 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Myleftnuthurts

    If they kill him you know riots are gonna start because of this. So far it's peaceful but just wait.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sherri

    "We feel (Davis is) guilty."

    REALLY??? You FEEL that he's guilty? So because your gut tells you he is, then it must be so? Therefore, let's execute? Are these supposed people for REAL????

    September 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Exactly! "we FEEL that he is guilty" ??

      September 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Al

    Justin Bieber crashes his Ferrari: Pop star walks away unharmed after minor fender bender in Los Angeles
    "There was no damage to either vehicle," LAPD says
    When police arrived, paparazzi were already at the scene
    (People) - Just days after snagging honors at the MTV Video Music Awards for best male video, Justin Bieber hit a slight bump in the road.

    The pop star, 17, walked away unharmed after he was involved in a minor fender bender in his Ferrari Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department confirms to PEOPLE.

    "No one was injured, and there was no damage to either vehicle," a statement from the LAPD says.

    An LAPD official says Bieber was driving through Studio City when the driver of a Honda Civic crashed into his Ferrari, which he says sustained some minor damage.

    "There was no crime, and it was just a minor accident," patrol officer John Seffel tells PEOPLE. "It was so minor, so we didn't file a report."

    When police arrived, the paparazzi was at the scene, although it was not known whether the vehicle that hit Bieber's belonged to a photographer.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. long

    well got to go night night another day another dollar!

    September 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Michael Cruz

    Justice are far complex than just collecting evidents presented to be a standing ground to bring conclusion of verdict.What construction of rationalization generalize a consolidation of the judgement in basis of natural belief and faith moreover the knowledge level of understanding under common universal understanding.In classes of proper case placement.foregoing to be a formal proceedings judge and council will issue if trial is necessarry and prove surface of truth in justice counts in liberty to show the freedom of questions,ideas,and knowledgeable understanding of democracy against ruling power of authority.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Are you psychotic?

      September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fatbellybella1

    None of us are in any position to judge each other! GOD will decide what the final decision is wether he gets executed today or any other day DAVIS will have to face the LORD on his judgement day!!! Only GOD and Davis knows if he is guilty or not!!!

    September 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leftism is a mental disease

      and a jury of Mr. Davis' peers...

      September 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • GOD

      He's guilty.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trevor

      God said thou shall not kill, well unless I tell you to and then its okay. Yeah that sh&% makes sense.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brie

      God, you idiot, is a figment of your imagination.

      If God exists, why is he/she/it so destructive?

      September 21, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • GOD

      Brie, don't hack me off.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. DEW

    it time for obama to put his 2 cents in,look at the votes he would get

    September 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Republican candidate would spin it to make him look soft on crime. They would also turn it into a race issue.

      Since he cannot save the mans life, he has no reason to make a poor political move

      September 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tmartin

    There were over 33 witnesses at this trial. Did all of you folks against this execution know that? Did you know that Davis and his attorneys had a chance to call those two who recanted their eye witness testimony back in to go before the judge and the prosecution to answer questions about their affidavit but he wouldnt do it..he just let them sit outside even though he was warned that their testimony would help his cause? He still chose to let them sit outside the court. WHY? Only because his lawyers understood that their testimony wouldnt stand up and it would be shown that they were lying to save his life! You guys are all experts, but you dont even know the facts about the case!

    September 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernard

      No, you don't know the facts. Read this:

      Let this poor guy off death row, sheesh.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lexan

      The facts of the case are that there is no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. He was convicted on eyewitness testimony - most of it since recanted. That means the amount of doubt regarding his guilt is huge.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • wreng

      What prompted a noted jurist to say "I would rather set free 10 criminals than to convict 1 innocent person." Its the imperfections s in the justice system, I believe.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tmartin

      Those are not facts. This is a fact: he had a chance to call these two in but he didnt. They were there to answer questions about their recant affidavits, but against the advice of the judge, his attorney would not call them but let them sit outsIde letting only their affidavits stand...why? Maybe because they would not be believable? Especially since one told the police within minutes of the murder that Mr. Davis was the shooter and she gave other specific statements that would still stand even if she was suddenly "not sure". Why when these are the main two people throwing him a lifeline would he refuse to call them? Why would his shorts be covered in the cops blood unless he was standing over him when he shot himpoint blank in the face? Why would one of the eye witnesses specifically tell the cops tat mr davis told him exactly how the cop was shot even though those details at that point had not been released to the media? Why are there so many witnesses that havent recanted...people of high moral character and background vs those who were with mr davis while he pistol whipped a man and then shot a cop before he ever pulled a gun! A jury of mostly black people found him guilty...most of the witnesses that still stand by their statements are black...a huge number much greater then a couple that decide maybe tey got it wrong years later!

      September 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tmartin

      No phySical evidence?? What rag did u read that in? They had his shorts stained in the cops blood that could only get that way if he was standing over him when they shoy him in the face. The judge threw them out only because the mother said she was under durres when she let them in. They had matching shell casings from another shooting that same night where many people saw him shoot up a party. Now you will regurgitate the naacp talking points about how that sort of evidence is considered weak these days...but I actually worked in a crime lab back in that same year...and that evidence was the best of its time and highly reliable.

      So a murderer should walk free if he is able to throw his gun where nobody can find it?

      September 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. mike

    I be this crowd has been searching for the real killer all these years just like OJ.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
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