Georgia Parole Board Denies Clemency for Troy Davis

Seven recanting witnesses, a Pope, a former FBI Director, and an ex-US president couldn’t persuade the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles that enough doubt had accumulated about Troy Davis’ culpability in the 1989 murder of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail to call off his execution. For the fourth time in the past four years, Davis has been given an execution date—Wednesday at 7 p.m., according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

The Davis case has been one of several recent death penalty cases in which exculpatory evidence that has emerged post-conviction has highlighted significant flaws in the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to eyewitness testimony, which according to the Innocence Project, “has played a role in 75 percent of convictions overturned by DNA testing.”

Doubts about Davis’ guilt however, aren’t exactly unanimous. They are not, for example, shared by the family of the slain police officer whom Davis was convicted of killing.

“He’s guilty,” MacPhail’s widow, Joan MacPhail-Harris, said. “We need to go ahead and execute him.”

For all the questions raised about the evidence and lack thereof that led to Davis’ original conviction, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles agreed.


In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones: A special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of the huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend


Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.


We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.