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. Angel M.

    Common sense dictates that if there is the slightest doubt, we should always err on the side of LIFE!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  2. dot8

    If most of the witnesses are white and are less racist today, then we better listen, after-all Georgia was labeled as a racist state back then.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • kermit12

      Today an innocent man will die. All who believe in the death penalty will one day answer.

      The law says "beyond a reasonable doubt".........well, if the former FBI Director says there is "too much doubt" then
      the man should not die.

      Each one of us carries responsibility for his death. We did nothing to stop it.

      If this was your relative, you'd be disturbed.

      May God and the Universe bless Troy to have peace, and his family to be comforted.

      And, when it comes out clearly enough for you bigots to believe it, whoever did murder that cop should
      spend his life in prison.

      Oh, and by the way, I'm a white lady from the south. My father was involved in KKK stuff in the 1960's and 70's,
      I know how it goes down there. I lived through it.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • How many will there be?

      Right Kermit. You're a white lady who lives in the south, brought in a family who exposed you to the KKK. Right. Nice try.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. LetsPlayTheRcard

    This man killed a police officer, and then confessed to it. Lets pull out the race card, get him aquited and back out on the streets! do it quick so he can vote for Obama! This whole country is spiralling down the toilet

    September 21, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • fearlessdude

      Yes, you were there, you saw it, maybe you helped him.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      You're an idiot that clearly knows nothing about the criminal justice system. He would not get "put on the streets." He would get life in prison in the alternative.

      I love how you jump to Obama though. That's really classy. It really shows how educated and well spoken you are. Congrats on being a hillbilly idiot.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      Davis never confessed to shooting, or pistol-whipping, anybody.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Hank

      This story is not about Obama. You pathetic fool love to tie anything to Obama just like the rest of the Obama haters. The society is getting worse because of a person like you who love whine and complain.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Lame

      What on earth does Obama have to do with this. It's people like you that make it so easy for ignorance to slip through the cracks. You probably support Casey Anthony.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  4. it was an inside job by another cop

    it was an inside job by another cop

    September 21, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. B+

    Black racism is the real problem. Until the black community takes ownership for their problems instead of blaming the white man, this nation is not going to move forward with race relations. What worries me is that they also don't think the white man is ever going to stand up for himself and stop tolerating this bs. I get this feeling that they think they can keep pushing our government towards an equal income society, keep screaming about racism every time you turn around, keep rioting, keep attacking whites at disproportionate rates and whites will keep taking it. They seem to be totally unaware of that whites have been tolerating this bs because they kept hoping that eventually they would start fitting in over time like every other cultural group in our nations history. Unfortunately this hasn't happened and whites are growing tired of it. Mark my prediction, whether or not its riots tonight because of Troy or riots because whites wake up and stop voting for an incompetent president because he is black, or some other reason, but the riots aren't going to go esclate and not go like the rioters had hoped. Then, this nation will figure out how bad things have gotten and will start working towards a solution that both whites and blacks can live with. Too bad things will have to come to a head first.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • YankeeMama

      You are a bigot. This case is not about race and to attempt to make it about race proves your bigotry. If you had the "facts" to which you speak straight, you would know that black on black crime is far higher than black on white crime. As an urban, inner city white woman, I am far more tired of false accusations of "the race card" as I am of false accusations of racism, which you have just proven still exists. Get a life you ignorant, fear-driven, obsolete, pock mark on the face of America.

      September 21, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Daniel Holmgren, Sweden

    To whomever has the possibility to stop the execution (probably the govenor of Georgia).
    Make a deal. If it is ever discovered, after the death of Troy, that he was innocent, then promise to let yourself be executed by the same method as Troy was executed. This to prove that you do believe that he is guilty. If you have no doubt, then there shouldn't be any problem to make this deal, right?

    If anyone have any comment to this, then send it to caratacos(at)hotmaildotcom

    September 21, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Krista

      I agree. There is no accountability to the individuals that put their own political agenda above the life of others. (I'm not saying that happened here per se, just that it does happen. Read "The Innocent Man")

      People are human and make mistakes. That's the exact reason the death penalty is a terrible idea. It's a numbers game. Eventually someone is going to be innocent and murdered by the state.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Boogie

      And if after they execute him they find out that he really WAS guilty...and you are all suckers...can we execute all of Troy's supporters who protest based off of SECOND HAND information??? It's only fair right?

      September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jože

    Execution is not human. We dont know really, he is guilty or not. Support to Troy from Slovenia.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  8. BetterUSA

    This is really sad sad and sad. Killing a person without a DNA Test!!!!!!!! That makes no SENSE at all!!! The US justice system needs to be revised and FIXED!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Brandon

      You've been watching too much CSI. Not every crime involves DNA.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lay

    i think this is an outrage! there is no real evidence, and no real witness if you are really reading about whats going on. this man will die an innocent man tonight and its a shame! the witnesses against him were MOST likely forced to make outrageous accusations about this man because the police could not do there job! they dont want to look like fools so they pinned it on the first person they could think of! if they did there jobs correctly they would know who really did it! so now, an innocent man is paying for a crime he did not commit and the real cop killer is out wondering the streets (if still living). so is the case of Officer Mark MacPhail really solved at this point? does his family really feel like this is justice? of course i am very sorry for there loss, but letting a man die with no real evidence against him is not right and wont change anything!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  10. fred

    His own Mother said he did it for God's sake

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brad

    The indisputable fact is that Mr. Davis was there and knew guns were there and knew they were robbing a homeless man. When an off-duty policeman then intervenes and is shot and killed, Mr. Davis is as guilty as the "shooter" he claims was not himself (a fact disputed). Davis intended the consequences of the actions that night. Is this different from OJ Simpson's defense: I knew my cohorts in crime were packing heat in the hotel room when they went with me to get my memorabilia but because I didn't pull out a gun myself, I am not guilty of robbery. Yes, OJ, you are. Yes, Mr. Davis, you were there during a robbery and killing and you knew that to be one of the potential consequences of your act. How is this different either from the 3 bums who tied Mr. Byrd behind the truck and dragged him to his death. 2 are on death row. Only one was driving. All said the other did it. They ALL knew the consequences of the acts of any one of them could cause the death, and all should be on death row.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
  12. Moneypenny

    I'm so upset with the state of GA. I was born, raised and still reside in Atlanta. I've been hearing about this case for most of my life. I've always heard he was possibly innocent the entire time and I believe he should be allowed to have another trial.

    I am so disappointed because this makes me feel like we have no power at all. Even the people who can bring more attention to this (celebrities, former FBI directors and presidents) have no power to stop this.

    I've always lived here and been well aware racism is still a major issue here but all the attention this case has received just amplified it. What if we find out tomorrow or a year from now that they were wrong? What harm is it to give a polygraph? How do you resolve that after his life has ended, some errors in judgement cannot be undone.

    I apologize in advance for my long post but I just needed to say how I feel.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  13. Common Sense

    sad day for justice

    September 21, 2011 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • justice

      Wrong, I feel just fine!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • This is crazy

      This type of mistreatment has been going on for decades on top of centuries. I'm not surprised but saddened by the outcome.

      September 21, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mary Jo

    I HATE the SOUTH. This is really sad and very disheartening. You couldn't pay me to go to Georgia!

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • justice

      Good! keep your ignorant azz out of our territory!

      September 21, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Al

    One thing death penalty enthusiasts should consider is that in both England and Spain public sentiment turned against capital punishment after an executed convict was later proven innocent. This is a high profile case and should he be later proven innocent this would deal quite a blow to capital punishment in the US.

    September 21, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
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