Georgia Death Row Inmate Troy Davis Executed; Supporters Claim Injustice

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Groups around New York City, the country and the world spent the night Wednesday rallying to save the life of  Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis. But in the end, the convicted killer was executed for the 1989 murder of a Savannah police officer.

Strapped to a gurney in Georgia’s death chamber, Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time that he did not kill police officer Mark MacPhail. Just a few feet away behind a glass window, MacPhail’s son and brother watched in silence.

“I am innocent,” Davis said moments before he was executed Wednesday night. “All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight.”

Prosecutors and MacPhail’s family said justice had finally been served.

“I’m kind of numb. I can’t believe that it’s really happened,” MacPhail’s mother, Anneliese MacPhail, said in a telephone interview from her home in Columbus, Ga. “All the feelings of relief and peace I’ve been waiting for all these years, they will come later. I certainly do want some peace.”

She dismissed Davis’ claims of innocence.

“He’s been telling himself that for 22 years. You know how it is, he can talk himself into anything.”

eb5a5531 61af 4a7c 8306 8252df49bcdb big Georgia Death Row Inmate Troy Davis Executed; Supporters Claim Injustice

Anneliese MacPhail, left to right, mother of slain off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail, MacPhail's son Mark MacPhail, Jr., wife Joan MacPhail and daughter Madison MacPhail, react after a Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles hearing for convicted killer Troy Davis in Atlanta, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Davis was scheduled to die at 7 p.m., but the hour came and went as the U.S. Supreme Court apparently weighed the case. More than three hours later, the high court said it wouldn’t intervene. The justices did not comment on their order rejecting Davis’ request for a stay.

Hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions on Davis’ behalf and he had prominent supporters. His attorneys said seven of nine key witnesses against him disputed all or parts of their testimony, but state and federal judges repeatedly ruled against him, three times on Wednesday alone.

Officer MacPhail’s widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said it was “a time for healing for all families.”

“I will grieve for the Davis family because now they’re going to understand our pain and our hurt,” she said in a telephone interview from Jackson. “My prayers go out to them. I have been praying for them all these years. And I pray there will be some peace along the way for them.”

Davis’ supporters staged vigils in the U.S. and Europe, declaring “I am Troy Davis” on signs, T-shirts and the Internet.

In New York City, two rallies were held in Brooklyn and Harlem in support for Davis.

The New York City Council also sent Georgia’s governor a letter asking the Parole Board to “reconsider its decision and grant clemency for Troy Davis.”

Some tried increasingly frenzied measures, urging prison workers to stay home and even posting a judge’s phone number online, hoping people would press him to put a stop to the lethal injection. President Barack Obama deflected calls for him to get involved.

“They say death row; we say hell no!” protesters shouted outside the Jackson prison before Davis was executed. In Washington, a crowd outside the Supreme Court yelled the same chant.

As many as 700 demonstrators gathered outside the prison as a few dozen riot police stood watch, but the crowd thinned as the night wore on and the outcome became clear.

Davis’ execution had been halted three times since 2007. The U.S. Supreme Court even gave Davis an unusual opportunity to prove his innocence in a lower court last year.

“Troy Davis has impacted the world,” his sister Martina Correia said before the execution. “They say, ‘I am Troy Davis,’ in languages he can’t speak.”

Members of Davis’ family who witnessed the execution left without talking to reporters.

Davis’ supporters included former President Jimmy Carter, Pope Benedict XVI, a former FBI director, the NAACP, several conservative figures and many celebrities, including hip-hop star Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing MacPhail, who was working as a security guard at the time. MacPhail rushed to the aid of a homeless man who prosecutors said Davis was bashing with a handgun after asking him for a beer. Prosecutors said Davis had a smirk on his face as he shot the officer to death in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah.

No gun was ever found, but prosecutors say shell casings were linked to an earlier shooting for which Davis was convicted.

Witnesses placed Davis at the crime scene and identified him as the shooter, but several of them have recanted their accounts and some jurors have said they’ve changed their minds about his guilt. Others have claimed a man who was with Davis that night has told people he actually shot the officer.

After his execution, the American Civil Liberties Union, which was one of the groups holding the rally for Davis in New York City on Wednesday, issued a statement condemning the State of Georgia.

“The execution of an innocent man crystallizes in the most sickening way the vast systemic injustices that plague our death penalty system. No innocent person should ever be put to death, and it is unconscionable and unconstitutional to carry out an execution where, as in the case of Troy Davis, significant doubts exist,” Denny LeBoeuf, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Capital Punishment Project director said in the statement. “Troy’s case makes clear that the death penalty system in the United States is broken beyond repair. It is arbitrary, discriminatory and comes at an enormous cost to taxpayers, and it must be ended.”

Please share your thoughts below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

    • Mike Miller

      “David (Crowe) takes full responsibility for his crime and experiences profound remorse,” according to Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, an advocacy group, who welcomed the board’s decision.

      7 of 9 recanted their eyewitness testimony…that leaves 2 more…Guy can’t face up to his responsibility now can he?..

  • RealityCheck

    I was reviewing the photo of protestors on the CNN website and noticed that the photo didn’t have any black folks in the photo. EVEN BLACK folks KNEW that he was guilty! All of you professional bleeding hearts should give it a rest. I sure didn’t see any of you out there when they executed the white guy for dragging the black guy to death. HYPOCRITES!!!

    • Michael H.

      The white guy should have sat, rotting in solitary confinement for the rest of his life. That is a different case, though, as there was physical evidence in his case (there was none in this one) and 7 of the 9 eye witnesses did not recant or change their testimony. Even the jurors in this case have expressed doubt.

    • Michael H.

      To clarify, I am against the death penalty in all cases. This case in GA just solidifies my position.

  • disappointed1

    I’m sure we’ve heard this before. Look how many innocent persons have been released after YEARS incarcerated. Thank God for the Innocence Project.

    That until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes; That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race it will be the same old same old!

    And if it is proven later that Troy Davis is innocent, what then? EYE FOR AN EYE so any EYE will do?

    • LG

      You failed to thank The Great Robert Nesta Marley for those lines.

  • Voice Of Reason in a Dark World

    May this be the first step in replacing this corrupt government and system of law with a system that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people. America is dead. Killed by the bankers, the greedy and the paranoid. People please stop putting yourselves in racial groups. Its he way the greedy divide us. Divide and Conquer. We can’t see what they are doing if we are fighting each other. This case was about the government showing you that it can kill you no matter what the evidence. Its a wake up call. I hope you wake up.

  • JIM


    • Capital Punishment is Barbarous

      Jim, I hope that neither you nor your children, or any family members are ever wrongly convicted of a crime for which the sentence is death. But only then would you know the pain of others.

      I’m not speaking to the guilt or innocence of Troy Davis, but to the barbarous ways of our society. Too many people have been exonerated of crimes after serving time on death row or their youth being completely robbed from them. Did you hear about the man who committed murder, in self-defense, while on death row, only to be exonerated of the crime that put him there? My friend received a HUGE settlement from the government for being held in prison for 15 years for a crime that he didn’t commit. The problem with our justice system is too many prosecutors taking matters personally and trying to get an additional notch on their belts instead of upholding the law.

      I agree with you, forget the Black thing–forget the white thing–but least we not forget the “human thing” and that is not to kill. For to do so is barbarous by any reasoning!

      • disappointed1

        AMEN brother!

  • disappointed1

    We all know that once again racism has reared its ugly head. The color of Davis’s skin determined his fate and an innocent man may have been put to death because of it.

    • Michael H.

      The problem with your statement is that most of the jurors were black.

      • Hang 'em high

        In which case the Klansman or this cop killer?

  • Herbert Kaufman

    This was a typical case of Southern “justice,” only instead of an outright lynching, it went through the courts to make it look good. Down to its basics it was the case of a White police officer that had been slain by a Black man. Therefore a Black man had to die for the crime. Any Black man would do, even if he was innocent. Barack Obama, Desmond Tutu or Roy Wilkins would have been just as satisfactory in Georgia.
    The law says that if there is any reasonable doubt, a defendant in a criminal case MUST be found not guilty. That basic principle was ignored by the prosecutors, the jury, the courts and the parole board for no other reason than the color of Davis’ skin. What a bunch of losers.
    The KKK is alive and well in Georgia. Too bad we can’t say the same for Troy Davis.

    • Truth

      I guess there was no reasonable doubt. The courts gave him three more years to prove his innocence which he couldn’t. Were the jurors all white? David knows the truth. Maybe he was protecting a friend. Well that friend is alive and he’s gone now. The whole story is sad and I’m sure some white person is going to make money off of his movie.

    • Michael H.

      I do not believe this was a case based on racism. More than half of the jury in this case were black.

  • Glenn Erdmann

    Good riddance dirt bag.

    • Michael H.

      Have you researched the topic? This man was convicted based on nothing but eyewitness testimony and 7 of the 9 witnesses either recanted their testimonies or changed their stories. Georgia may very well have put an innocent man to death yesterday and the SCOTUS practically put the needle in his arm by refusing to hear the case.

    • Herbert Kaufman

      Was he a dirt bag because you THINK he might have been guilty or because Davis was Black? We know the answer to that one, don’t we?

      • Reality


    • Dakotahgeo

      I couldn’t agree more. The entire McFail family should be “disciplined” accordingly.

  • Magdalena Wiklund

    USA do not accept abortion, because God created the little child inside the womans body. Many people in USA do not accept divorce, because what God brought together no man should take apart. USA accepts the death penelty because…. ?

    • Michael H.

      Because the fanatic religious right only cares about the fetus and not the resulting human being. We’re in some wonderful company when you look at the other countries that still use the death penalty: Belarus · China (PRC) · Cuba · Egypt · India · Iran · Israel · Japan · Malaysia · Mongolia · North Korea · Pakistan · Saudi Arabia · Singapore · South Korea · Taiwan (ROC) · Tonga · Vietnam

  • michaelfury

    Was the death of Barry Jennings “justice” too?

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