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. Eb

    everyone who considers himself a Christian must oppose the death penalty – since Jesus teaching place emphasis on forgiveness..

    September 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gingersrule1

    I agree. Fry his ass. He's a murderer. These people should be praying for the soul of the guy he killed not the murderer. The man he killed lost everything he had that day because this guy is a sick murderous loser. To let him live would be a disgrace to all mankind. I can't stand states that don't have the death penalty because it means many years of prison time and who do you think pays for that?

    September 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BJ Bell

    Black people could care less that this guy killed a white cop - very sad state of racism in this Country but it's true.

    You will not see White people in mass supporting a White person who has killed anyone who's Black, Latino or any other race, it hasn't always been that way in our Country's history, but it is now. The overwhelming majority of White people will not condone violence against anyone - I'm sorry to say that it's not that way for the Black race.

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

      September 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChefEATRIGHT

      I believe white people were in mass support for Mehserle...

      September 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elpieda

      Whites hate violence and thats why they set Casey Anthony free when it was certainly clear she killed her daughter...

      September 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ed

    It is reported the warden is even asking that this murder be stopped. There'something wrong with this case!

    September 21, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • paul1121

      hmm. something to be looked into. But it is time for him to pay for his crimes. i see him twisting, turning telling stories, anything to not paying for disrupting a family, After all, would anyone of you sheeple want to take him in?

      THOUGHT SO!!

      September 21, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Klaark

    They killed the white guy lickety split. What gives? Could it be that PC liberals are complete and utter losers who live on the good graces of people who actually WORK!?

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

      They killed "the white guy" because the evidence against him was rock solid. I think it's pretty ignorant to be so cavalier about executing someone–if we as a society kill an innocent person for a crime we can't prove they committed then the blood is on our hands.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      There was no doubt that he and several other racist attached one end of a chain to the body of a human being and the other end to a truck and began dragging him until his body began to come apart.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Maybe there is now reasonable doubt?

    September 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. paul1121

    OMG! Kill Him!!

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

    They are gonna kill him tonight, The local authorities already know the SC ruling. They are beefing up for the possible riots.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Dave S

    When you're criticizing others And are finding here and there

    A fault or two to speak of Or a weakness you can't bear.

    When you're blaming someone's weakness Or accusing some of self…

    It's time that you went out To walk around yourself.

    There are lots of human failures In the average of us all.

    And lots of grave shortcomings In the short ones and the tall.

    But when we think of evils Men should lay upon the shelves,

    It's time we all went out To take a walk around ourselves.

    We need so often in this life This balancing of scales.

    This seeing how much in us wins And how much in us fails.

    But before you judge another Just to lay him on the shelf

    It would be a splendid plan To take a walk around yourself.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      So true and fitting for this post as it appears to have attracted a large number of blood thristy individuals.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. enoughisenough

    It's not surprising that this case is controversial. Those individuals who police us as a whole in too many instances as of late abuse authority and believe they are above the law. Take the officer who is caught blatently littering on live cnn tv during this broadcast for example, he carelessly throwa his water bottle on the grass in from of the prison breaking Georgia littering laws. If laws as simple as littering are brushed aside because they are done by a person in uniform versus a regular citizen it is not far fetched to believe that police believe they are above the law and able to influence/coerse witness testimony.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Larry McDougald

    U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr.

    He said while Davis' "new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors."
    Seven of the nine witnesses recanted.

    There is no physical evidence.

    He was willing to take a lie detector test which was rejected. What is the prosecution afraid of?

    What we all know is that death penalty cases must be proven BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. There are lots of doubt in this case.

    This case is going through a kangaroo court system.

    Justice will not be served by executing the wrong man.

    Now that guy who got executed for dragging a b l a c k man to death, there was no reasonable doubt here. Justice was served.

    In the absence of physical and/or DNA evidence, the death penalty should be off the table. Period. End of discussion.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tnmom

    Get it over with already

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

      Even if he is innocent?

      September 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brie


      September 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iamnotfooled

      Reasonable doubt..............

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

      Oh stfu u should be right along with him if they do!

      September 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Yelka

      We agonize too much over things like this. Unending appeals cost taxpayers and take away funds urgently needed elsewhere.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Audrey Hansen

      In my 38 year old of life, i didn't know the human being yet. But today for the first time i got to know how the human being can be such a cold hearted and unhuman. Such a bunch of devils toward a personand others out there that we don't know that is paying for something that he did'nt do it. Unbelievable. It's so sad to see millions of people that doesn't know God and are very sick people and have a contagious disease. Wow.

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

      I hear ya! It's time the long arm of the law put a few more in the ground. Anyone who kills someone in an attack which they instigated or participated should be killed. 22 years in prison and we just start hearing him whine. Take it like a man Troy.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • larvadog

      Mark Yelka – I'm not certain one can agonize too much over executing a man who may be innocent. Put yourself in his shoes, assuming that to be the case. Would you be so quick to stop agonizing? There is no excuse, if we are going to continue to implement capital punishment, to not exhaust all reasonable appeals to absolutely ensure, inasmuch as it is possible, that we never execute another innocent person. It has happened but should never happen.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • justin head

      they just need to go head and kill him there were no delays when he kill that man so they delay for 20 year now stop dick around and do it

      September 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Art Vandolaye

    Please, please, bring back the electric chair. Made such events so much more interesting. And talk about a deterent method to curb killing. Bzzzzz Bzzzzzz Bzzzzzz

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

      What if it was you? or your family member? Would you feel like that?

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

      Art, you're an idiot.

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

      The fact that the state is killing the killer makes the executioner and those who order it just as guilty of murder as the one ones they kill. State sanctioned murder is no more right than any other murder which by definition is premeditated, The planned murder of an unarmed and immobilized victim is even more heinous than the original act. The obvious double standard is a crime of the state but never the less a crime..

      September 21, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Tyra

    They even have WARDENS calling for them NOT TO EXECUTE Troy.... that is rare, and should also speak volume.....

    September 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brie

      Wardens are idiots, don't you know anything?

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

      I completely agree – he is innocent and deserves this stay of execution. Although he probably won't ever get out of jail, at least he will have his life and still get to see his family. This man should not be executed for something he did not do – ESP since witnesses and wardens, etc are saying he is innocent/rallying behind him.

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

      It does. Reasonable doubt.

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

      Brie your comments prove u have NO EDUCATION WHATSOEVER.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • CARLOS

      Guess the reports from prisoners claiming the wardens mistreating them in prisons is false.

      September 21, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Antiestablishmentarism

    It would be my sincere hope that, if this man's execution goes forward, one or more of those protesters brought a trunk of live grenades and take every one of those pigs out. Of course, that's just dreaming.

    That line of cops standing in front of the prison like that really, really irks me for some reason. It's like they're all saying "We are better than you. This is OUR country and not YOURS. We call the shots here." And I guess I'd just to see them shown whose country this really is.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
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