Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Troy Davis: The time line


Mark MacPhail, the man whom Troy Davis murdered, and whose face Davis’ supporters do not want you to see. This was not previously published with this article.

Compiled by Julia C. Muller, from Savannah Now news files
Posted: September 22, 2011 - 1:00am | Updated: September 22, 2011 - 1:45pm
Savannah Now

[N.S.: “I am Troy Davis.” Are these people all saying that they, too, are cold-blooded, racist killers?]



Aug. 19: Officer Mark Allen MacPhail is shot twice while trying to break up a fight in the parking lot of the Greyhound Bus Station.

Aug. 20: Police conduct two raids searching for the suspect, Troy Anthony Davis.

Aug. 22: Even as MacPhail’s funeral is held, officers continue to work the case.

Aug. 23: Davis surrenders after negotiations between police and Davis’ family. Davis had fled to Atlanta. District Attorney Spencer Lawton says he will seek the death penalty.

Nov. 15: Davis is indicted on murder, aggravated assault, obstruction and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He remains in jail.


Jan. 16: The formal request for the death penalty triggers the state’s Uniform Appeal for death penalty cases.

April 30: Davis’ lawyers enter a plea of not guilty. They also request a change of venue due to excessive pre-trial publicity.

July 30: Trial is set for October.

Oct. 12: The trial is postponed to December. Davis’ lawyers request a psychological evaluation.

Nov. 9: Judge James W. Head bans evidence seized during a search of the home of Davis’ mother, Virginia Davis. Prosecutors attempt to appeal the ruling and are turned down.

Nov. 15: Prosecutors ask the courts to delay Davis’ trial while they appeal the banning of evidence that was seized. The stay is granted.


May: Georgia Supreme Court upholds the ban on evidence seized by officers during a raid of Virginia Davis’ home.

May 31: Judge Head sets Davis’ trial for Aug. 19.

July: Davis’ lawyers request that cameras be banned from the trial.

Aug. 20: Twenty-five prospective jurors are chosen as the trial begins in earnest. Some 60 prospective jurors will be qualified with the 12 and two alternates chosen from that pool. They will be sequestered.

Aug. 22: Opening statements are made.

Aug. 23: Witness Harriette Murray identifies Davis as the shooter and says he smiled as he shot MacPhail.

Aug. 26: Testimony includes a statement from Kevin McQueen that Davis admitted the shooting to him.

Aug. 27: Davis takes the stand and denies shooting MacPhail. He says he fled the scene before the shots were fired.

Aug. 28: Closing statements are made. The jury takes about two hours to convict Davis.

Aug. 29: Davis asks the jury to spare his life in the sentencing phase of the trial.

Aug. 30: After seven hours, the jury sentences Davis to death.

Oct. 1: Lawyers file a motion for a new trial.


Feb. 18: Lawyers present their arguments for a new trial.

March 20: Judge Head upholds the conviction, sending further appeals to the Georgia Supreme Court.


Feb. 26: The Georgia Supreme Court upholds the conviction and sentence of Davis.

Nov. 1: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear Davis case without comment.


March 3: Judge Head signs the first order for execution. It ends Davis’ rounds of direct appeals to his conviction. Assistant District Attorney David Lock, who assisted in the prosecution of Davis, states that Davis has another 10 years of “habeas corpus” petitions left before a meaningful execution date.


September: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejects arguments that Davis’ death penalty trial was unfair.


April 12: Lawyers for Davis file a final appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court.

June 25: The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to review the conviction and sentence. Later, the Georgia Department of Corrections orders Davis’ execution.

July 9: Lawyers file an extraordinary motion for a new trial stating there is substantial evidence that another man shot and killed MacPhail.

July 10: The Georgia Board of Pardons receives letters from human rights activists and supporters for Davis. Tonya Johnson, a witness in the case, states she saw another man dump the guns after the shooting. She said she didn’t come forward earlier because she fears the man she believed to be the actual shooter.

July 12: Prosecutors argue the “new” evidence is old.

July 13: Judge Penny Haas Freesemann rejects Davis’ appeal and refuses to stay his execution.

July 16: The Board of Pardons and Paroles suspend Davis’ execution for 90 days. As the month wears on, letters continue to pour in to the board asking for clemency or setting aside the death penalty to life in prison. Meanwhile, challenges to the lethal injection method may further delay any executions.

Aug. 3: The Georgia Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal for a new trial.

Aug. 6: A second clemency hearing is suspended as the lawyers seek a new trial.

Nov. 13: The Georgia Supreme Court hears Davis’ request for a new trial.


Mar. 17: The Georgia Supreme Court rejects Davis’ contention that witness recantations should allow a new trial. They reject his request a second time in April.

Sept. 3: Davis’ execution is set for Sept. 23.

Sept. 12: The Board of Pardons and Paroles rejects a clemency request.

Sept. 23: An eleventh-hour move by the U.S. Supreme Court grants Davis a stay.

Oct. 11: The U.S. Supreme Court again rejects a request to review the case.

Oct. 12: An Oct. 27 execution date is set.

Oct. 24: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals grants a stay.

Dec. 9: The Circuit Court hears Davis’ bid for a new trial.


April: The 11th U.S. Circuit Court rejects Davis’ appeal.

June: The NAACP appeals to Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisholm to reopen the case. Various groups urge that the case be reopened. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court delays ruling on the case until its next term.

Aug. 17: The U.S. Supreme Court rules the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia must hear evidence in the case.

Aug. 19: The 20th anniversary of the shooting of MacPhail is marked.


January: Davis’ lawyers seek police files in the case saying they hold evidence not presented at trial.

February: State attorneys suggest defense attorneys improperly obtained witness recantations.

June: Evidence that prosecutors earlier were barred from using will be allowed in the latest hearing.

July: Final arguments filed. Judges are also asked to weigh rejected evidence.

August: Judge Moore rejects attempts to reopen evidence not presented in the original trial. Further, the judge says Davis is still guilty. He failed to prove his innocence during the hearing. The next appeal must be to the U.S. Supreme Court.


March 28: The U.S. Supreme Court rejects Davis’ two-pronged appeal.

Sept. 6: A new execution order is signed by Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Haas Freesemann for between Sept. 21 and 28. The Georgia Department of Correction sets the date for Sept. 21.

Sept. 15: 600,000 petitions are delivered to the Board of Pardons and Paroles.

Sept. 20: The Board of Pardons and Paroles denies Davis clemency.

Sept. 21: Davis supporters deliver 240,000 signatures to Chatham County District Attorney Larry Chisolm’s door asking him to vacate the order authorizing the execution of Davis. Davis was executed at 11:08 p.m.

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