The case of Troy Davis: A timeline of events

11:15 AM, Sep 21, 2011   |    comments
Troy Davis
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ATLANTA -- Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, Sept. 21 for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.

Voices on both sides of the case are calling for justice -- some for MacPhail, saying Davis is guilty and that this has drawn out for far too long; others for Davis, saying there are too many questions regarding his guilt and insisting with the questionable evidence, a new trial is in order.


August 19, 1989 - Off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail was shot and killed when intervening in an argument between two men in a parking lot near a restaurant where he worked as a security guard.

August 23, 1989 - One of the men in the altercation, Sylvester "Redd" Coles went to Savannah police and implicated Davis in the shooting, resulting in the arrest of Davis.

August 1991 - In Davis' murder trial, a number of witnesses came forward and said they had seen Davis shoot Officer MacPhail, while two other people said Davis confessed to killing MacPhail. No murder weapon was located, and no other physical evidence connected Davis to the murder.

August 30, 1991 - Davis was convicted in MacPhail's murder and sentenced to death.

2000 - Davis challenged use of Georgia's electric chair for executions in Georgia, saying it constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

July 17, 2007 - First scheduled execution date. Execution was stayed after appeals from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI, Harry Belafonte, Amnesty International and the European Parliament.

September 2008 - Second scheduled execution date. Execution was stayed after statements from Amnesty International, Rev. Al Sharpton, former GOP Congressman Bob Barr and former President Jimmy Carter.

A last minute stay by the US Supreme Court was issued two hours before Davis was set to be executed, permitting the high court to determine whether on not to hear the case.

October 27, 2008 - Scheduled execution date. Execution was stayed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in order to consider a newly-filed federal petition. A petition with 140,000 signatures was presented to the state Board of Pardons and Paroles. An appeal also came from the European Union.

August 17, 2009 - US Supreme Court orders federal district court to consider if new evidence that could not have been easily obtained at the time of the initial trial could establish Davis' innocence.

June 2010 - Evidentiary hearing before federal district court; a number of prosecution witnesses recant their testimony. Some witnesses describe what they called police coercion in the case. At least one other witness says Coles confessed to the shooting. That evidence was not permitted to be entered since Coles did not have the opportunity to rebut it.

August 2010 - Federal district court upholds conviction.

March 2011 - US Supreme Court rejects Davis appeal.

May 2011 - Amnesty International and People of Faith Against the Death Penalty send out a call for signatures on a new petition calling for the commutation of Davis' execution.

September 17, 2011 - More than 600,000 signatures are presented to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on petitions asking for clemency.

September 19, 2011 - Clemency hearing before the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.

September 20, 2011 - Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles denies clemency for Davis. Statements from politicians and others decry the board's decision. Georgia state senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) calls for a general strike by staffers at the prison where the execution is scheduled.

September 21, 2011 - Scheduled execution date, at 7 p.m., at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson, Ga.

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