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. GOD

    Trevor, don't irritate me.

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

      God, go phuck yourself, you ain't done a very good job of things.

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

    WOW! I hope you feel better getting ALL that HATE in your heart out or is it?

    September 21, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jason

    Give Troy another last meal. The guy is hungry again.

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

    Can't believe it. This guy is guilty. If he'd had killed one of my family members I'd want him dead. If the state didn't give me justice, I'd consider expertise needed.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • canon808

      Wouldn't you actually want to be sure that he did do it beyond any reasonable doubt before you want him dead. Nobody cares about the truth these days, the prosecutors just want someone dead and the family of the victim just wants someone dead. Neither of them care who it is. Some want it for the record and other in order to so called "FIND PEACE", is that what it takes to bring us peace? Kill someone? How does that bring us peace, how does it make you miss you dad or husband or son any less than you already do?

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

      Wouldn't you like to be certain the right person is punished for the crime? Otherwise the actual killer is still on the loose and free to kill again.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SK

    Life for Life is not the solution!

    Whether Guilty or Not, no one has the right to take a life. If life can't be created, it should not be destroyed! Any life PERIOD.

    I hope Supreme court make the right decision on this one!

    God Bless!

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

      No one has a right to take a life.

      That's right moron.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy B

      Life can't be created? Maybe not by yourself in your basement but look between your legs, whatever it is you've got, that's for creating life.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • ArshQ

      I completely agree with your statement SK. One thing we will see in this Supreme Court Case is the bias of a white man when it come to getting the chance to kill an "innocent" black man's life. Our Federal Supreme Court System should not be biased on any case whatsoever, but one thing is for sure, there will never be a clear way to know who really is guilty. If one is guilty. then by all means he is guilty, but the death sentence should never be an option in his or her sentencing.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. canon808

    Most states that have death penalty won't even put someone to death on the sole testimony of eye withnesses

    September 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      But in this case, it's a black guy, so Georgia is fine with it.

      7 of the 9 witnesses said they were intimidated and coerced by the police into giving testimony, and the 8th was himself a suspect? That's still good enough for all the bloodthirsty animals who just want to see a black man die.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jahn

    I don't think the execution should push through when there's even an iota of doubt in Troy Davis' conviction. Let be noted that guilt in a criminal offense must be proven beyond reasonable doubt; otherwise, he should be acquitted. The Supreme Court must hand down its last and final decision with moral certainty, that the Justices may sleep well at night.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tyra Herron

    Not to leave out, the person who originally accused Troy has now claimed himslef to be the shooter..... I feel for the families who lost their loved ones, but to settle for Troy's blood is an injustice to Troys family as Al Sharpton said.... and for me, for them to discount all this over evidence futher lets me know that they just want Troy's blood, their mind is closed you dont want to hear or know about anything else.... those are the things that make you go hummmmm.... justice is about penelizing the right person..... not just any ole person will do..... and other thing why cant he take a polygragh?....These are the questions that should be asked instead of creating this stage of were on black and white..lets stick with this case..... and its facts..... now if "BECAUSE HE IS BLACK" is a factor. then so be it... still no room for an argument... just look at deathrow, of statistic of all the minoritie men and women who have died incarcerated, just to have pardons and monotary benefits given to their decendants..... now thats something to talk about.... ~~FREE TROY DAVIS~~

    September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Speak truth

    People seem so adamant about how he should get what he deserves, but it seems that people also fail to realize that no one is even sure he committed the crime. There is no physical evidence tying him to the crime and the only elements that gave this case any grounds have been swept from under the prosecutions feet! If you think killing a man for something you SUSPECT he's done is ok, I pray that you're never wrongfully accused of a murder in the state of Georgia, because if the decision up to people like yourself, we already know your fate.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. M. M Fitzpatrick

    "The execution of Troy Davis ... should be halted because of "pervasive, persistent doubts" about his guilt, said William S. Sessions, a former federal district judge in Texas and FBI director under Presidents Ronald Reagan [and] George H.W. Bush ..."

    September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John Dunkel

    you must have really messed up at some point in your life if you are innocent and got convicted for murder.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brie

      Yea, happens all the time, especially after 3 appeals.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • HappyChickie

      Or if the U S of A wants to see you dead. Prosecutors with really big egos!

      September 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Shannon

    say what you will about the death penalty in some cases...
    in others:
    in others it seems like the closest thing our imperfect system can come to justice

    September 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Godhelpusa

    I bet this guy wished he should have made a better choice that day.. This should serve a lesson to all young people who think they are invisible and like making bad choices... I pray for his soul.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brie

      I pray they kill that murdering SOB tonight.

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

      Brie dont be all excited cos a man is going to die. Think about the day urs will come cos it might b

      September 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Elpieda

    SO I wonder if the mother of the officer will eventually find her peace when it is"over with"...If she thinks that will make her feel better then she needs to think again...Life isn't that simple woman and that will never bring your son back to life. Stuff happens in life, we win some we lose some..

    As for all those saying an eye for an eye etc, I can see you all read your bibles to suit your purpose because in that same bible, Jesus referred us back to that law and said rather than that, when we get hit on one cheek, we turn the other cheek.

    I don't know if Troy is guilty or not and so on but lets all be logical..When there is a lot of controversy surrounding a situation, that may just be a sign that one needs to take a step back and revisit the situation to make sure the right decisions are being made or else one will only live to regret one's decisions

    September 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brie

      The judges that heard this case 3 times did not have a problem with his guilt or sentence.

      it is only the sensationalism of the press and the politics of the Liberace's at voice here.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • iJoe

      Too bad Mark MacPhail isn't around to turn the other cheek.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • BJ Bell

      He was just a White guy trying to be a good samaritan, not superman or spiderman, but just a guy who cared - shoot him 3 times Troy Davis, the last in the head and we'll rally to you're defense.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dee

    I guess I feel sorrier for the family of the dead police officer than the killer. Why was't everybody tweeting for the life of the young officer. Wasn't this poor man dragged by a truck? He has had his trials, several appeals, etc. I just know if that was my son that was killed I would want this guy gone. This is disgusting and too drawn out for the family of the deceased.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gogogrrlo

      Why do people find it necessary to comment on things they know nothing about? You didn't even bother to read the whole story by posting your opinion.

      You have the wrong case. The wrong guy. The wrong everything. Troy Davis did not commit this murder - that's the whole point. You're referring to another case altogether involving a guilty 'white' man. Read up on it. You might learn something.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaysen

      What happened to that officer was absolutely horrible and heartbreaking. Killing the wrong man for the crime won't bring him justice though.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      I think that was a different case. If I remember correctly, the officer was shot and the current claim is that Mr. Davis was not the trigger puller.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I feel sorry for both parts here...Of course i feel sorry for the family of this policeman. It must have been very hard for them.. But i have to say i feel more sorry for this man who is going to loose his life for somthing he probably didnt do!! Set your self in his position... The death penalty just HAVE to be removed from your legal sysem!

      September 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
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