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Troy Davis Execution on Hold

Aired September 21, 2011 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Candy, thanks very much.

Good evening, everyone. As Candy said, we begin with the breaking news to delay in the execution of a condemned man on death row in Georgia. The man the jury says killed a police officer. The man who thousands of people believe is innocent. The man who ultimately became a lightning rod in the debate over the death penalty in the United States.

Troy Davis was supposed to die by lethal injection at 7:00 p.m. Eastern tonight. One hour ago. That is on hold as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a last-minute appeal. That is after the Georgia Supreme Court denied a stay. And other appeals were denied.

Just after 7:00 p.m. the crowd outside the prison where the execution was to take place broke into applause and cheered loudly when they heard the lethal injection was on hold.

David Mattingly was there. We're going to talk to him in just a moment.

Here's some background on the case. Davis was arrested in 1989 for the shooting death of an off-duty Savannah police officer, Mark MacPhail. A son, a husband, a father of two children. He was providing security for a Burger King when a fight broke out in a parking lot. Officer MacPhail rushed to the scene to investigate and was shot and killed.

Two years later, in 1991, Troy Davis was convicted for the murder based on eyewitness testimony. But since Davis's trial seven of the nine witnesses against him either recanted or changed their testimony raising doubts that have gone global.

Joining us from the prison in Jackson, Georgia, is David Mattingly. Also with us senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

So, Jeff, what is happening right now? Explain this. The state won't go forward with this until they get word from the Supreme Court?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right. What happened this morning was Troy Davis's lawyers filed suit in the -- in the trial court in Georgia saying we want a stay of execution based on false testimony given in a hearing that took place last year.

Late this afternoon the Georgia Supreme Court -- I'm sorry, first, the trial court denied the stay. Late this afternoon the Georgia Supreme Court denied the stay. At around 6:00 Eastern Time, an hour before the execution was supposed to take place, Troy Davis' lawyers went to the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a stay.

We have not heard anything from the Supreme Court now in about two hours. And Georgia prison authorities have said they are not going to proceed with the execution even though they now have the right to. Even though 7:00 Eastern has passed, they are not going to go forward with the execution as long as the Supreme Court has not acted.

It's a little surprising that they haven't acted yet. They usually act promptly. But we are literally on hold at the moment.

COOPER: So how does that work? I mean it's not like the Supreme Court, all the justices, are just sitting around. I mean are they all spread out? How do they make these kind of decisions?

TOOBIN: They are. And you know there is a unit within the clerk's office at the Supreme Court that does nothing but death penalty cases. There is a procedure in place. They know when an execution is coming. And it is often the case that the justices are around the world.

I remember I was once with Justice Anthony Kennedy in Austria and he excused himself to go communicate with the clerk's office about a death penalty case. This is something that they do all the time, or not all the time, but several times a year. And usually it's handled pretty promptly.

But the fact that we have now gone more than an hour past the scheduled time, it suggests that there is perhaps some -- difference of opinion in the court. It suggests that either the court as a whole or one justice might be writing something about this case. There is -- you know, it's hard to know what's going on.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: But the court doesn't like to delay things unnecessarily especially when you consider what an awful scene it must be in the death chamber as they wait with Troy Davis strapped to the gurney.

COOPER: And right --

TOOBIN: Whether to apply the drugs.

COOPER: Right now there's a vigil rally in Jackson, Georgia, that we're showing you live pictures of.

So, Jeff, on two fronts now there's things happening. Troy Davis, you believe he is actually in the execution chamber?

TOOBIN: Yes. Under Georgia procedures, an hour before -- 6:00 p.m. Eastern -- he was eligible to be given sedatives intravenously. And that would mean, you know, the needle was in his arm. The -- certainly by 7:00 the needle would have been in his arm if that's how -- if they were following the normal procedures.

So, you know, I guess they are just waiting there. I mean, it's got to be a gruesome, awful scene for all concerned. And including the witnesses which include at least some members of Officer MacPhail's family.

COOPER: And we're going to talk to Officer MacPhail's mother coming up shortly tonight.

Jeff, just stay there.

David Mattingly is on the scene.

David, what is the scene where you are?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, just a couple of hours ago hundreds of supporters for Troy Davis started massing across the street from the gates of the prison. And they started to chant, make a lot of noise, brand their signs, and they're still out there.

I'm going to step out of the way now so you can get a good look at them. They've been very orderly, they've been peaceful. But they have been very clear in their opinion. They have been supporting Troy Davis, some of them perhaps for the last 20 years. There was a tremendous crescendo of emotion as we approached 7:00, the original time of Troy Davis's execution.

Then there seemed to be a lull, a period of confusion about what may have happened. Then there was some -- a period of elation as the crowd realized -- or getting word that they were getting some sort of delay in this case as the Supreme Court looks at it.

Now while they're gathering across the street, take a look over here. We have riot police, guards in full riot gear. Helmets, visors, batons, side arms. All of them standing here waiting and watching the people across the street.

I have to tell you, Anderson, in the week and a half that I have been paying very close attention following the demonstrations of this case, every single Troy Davis demonstration has been peaceful, it has been orderly, and there's no indication tonight that that's going to change.

But we see this extraordinary show of precaution here with these officers standing at the gates of this facility perhaps anticipating that that large crowd won't be content to stay on the other side of the road for the rest of the evening.

COOPER: Right.

MATTINGLY: We'll wait. We'll watch just as everyone else is doing -- Anderson.

COOPER: And Jeff Toobin, you know, so you said that the Supreme Court justices could be all over the place. But do they communicate with each other? Do they reread research material on the case? I mean, what is the decision-making process?

TOOBIN: They get the briefs. Both sides now have filed briefs. The Troy Davis lawyers have filed a brief saying why they're seeking a stay. The government very recently just filed -- I just read it. It's about a -- it's about a page and a half. It's a very short response.

But the justices always are reachable electronically. And they know several days in advance when an execution is scheduled. So they tend to work their schedules so even if they are not in Washington, they are someplace where they can -- they can get the e-mails.

And what happens at that point varies. If all nine justices e- mail back to the clerk's office that they have no objection, then the execution just proceeds. It starts to get more complicated if one or more of them has an objection. And then there can be telephone calls among the justices, then there can be multiple communications, there can be e-mails among them.

You know if there is disagreement, things can get very complicated and things can start to take a lot of time. You know we're now at an hour and eight minutes past the execution date -- execution time. That's not a long time, but it would have been long enough for simply all of them to respond and say go ahead. So it does suggest they -- you know they are taking this seriously. And there may be some disagreement.

COOPER: Right. Jeff, stay with us.

Obviously, David Mattingly is going to stay with us as well. We're going to be back with you in a minute.

While Davis's supporters, what you saw, anxiously awaited word from the Supreme Court, the family of Officer MacPhail is convinced that Davis is guilty. Tonight's developments have to be extraordinarily difficult for them as well.

Joining me now from Columbus, Georgia, is the officer's mother, Anneliese MacPhail.

Thank you so much for being with us. When you hear now that there is a delay, what is going through your mind?

ANNELIESE MACPHAIL, MOTHER OF MURDERED POLICE OFFICER: Anderson, I'm absolutely devastated because I want it over with. We find him guilty after the first trial. And all these -- these decisions they have made through the courts, they've been through the courts four times in Georgia through all the courts. They've been through the Supreme Courts three times. So this delay again is very upsetting. And I think really unfair to us.

COOPER: This has been going on for more than 20 years.

MACPHAIL: Because we want this situation closed.

(CROSSTALK) MACPHAIL: That's right. And Anderson, I am devastated. And I like to close this book. And we feel him guilty. The evidence and everything we have seen, that I have seen, because I've been to all the trials, he is guilty. And I believe in that. So does the rest of my family.

COOPER: Other family members of yours, I believe, are attending the execution. You chose not to. Why?

MACPHAIL: Yes. I don't get any satisfaction on seeing that. I decided to stay home right from the beginning. That doesn't help my feelings and my hurt and all that at all if I see that.

COOPER: You know, obviously, those who have come to support Troy Davis or believe he was wrongfully convicted, you know, they say seven of the nine people who originally gave eyewitness testimony have either changed their testimony or recanted.

What do you make of that?

MACPHAIL: Well, the thing that got me is why did they wait 17 years to do that? They had the chances when all the hearings and the court sessions were going on for four times. They could have been there and said -- well, you know I don't believe in it or I maybe was wrong.

But now at the 11th hour, they come up with all these recantations after 17 years? I don't believe it. If they said, I don't remember, I can accept that. It's been a long time. But not to say that they didn't think that really did happen. And that -- yes?

COOPER: Well, I'm sorry. What do you want people to know about your son? To remember about your son?

MACPHAIL: My son was a wonderful person. And I'm not saying that just because I'm his mother. He was an Army soldier, Airborne Ranger. He spent six years in the military. And then he choose the police department. He was a wonderful father and husband. And he was out there to help a homeless man that was beaten to a pulp that evening. So I don't think what happened was fair.

And I don't know if everybody knows that Troy Davis shot somebody earlier that evening in the face. And the casings from the -- from the shells match those casing and then the ones they found by Mark. So I think that is pretty much good evidence if you ask me.

COOPER: And are you -- I mean, are you waiting by the phone? Are you --

MACPHAIL: I don't know if people know then.

COOPER: Are you waiting by the phone now? I mean I can't imagine what this evening is going to be like for you.

MACPHAIL: Yes. It is hell. And yes, I'm waiting by the phone. I'm waiting for that phone call where they say go. So and she said I should hear it within the next 30 minutes, they figured it would take.

COOPER: And when you --

MACPHAIL: And I'm waiting for it.

COOPER: And --

MACPHAIL: With my family, and they all are --

COOPER: I'm sorry, there's a satellite delay so I don't mean to be stepping on what you're saying. If you get that call that it is a go and --

MACPHAIL: Yes, my family is all up there.

COOPER: Your family is all up there. If you get the call that it is a go and Troy Davis is executed, what do you think you're going to feel when you get that word? Do you have any sense?

MACPHAIL: I am almost sure I feel relief and maybe some peace which I desperately need. Because I have been through hell. Especially the last couple of years when everything was kind of building up and we had to go to court again and again. So I need some peace. I really do.

And it's not a party for us at all. He did not have to do that. That was his choice. To shoot people that night which was one of them was my son and then the other one. So --

COOPER: Anneliese --

MACPHAIL: I don't think we're wrong at all.

COOPER: Anneliese, I know it's extraordinarily difficult time for you. And I appreciate you coming on to tell us your perspective. Thank you so much.

MACPHAIL: Well, Anderson, I was proud to talk to you. Thank you, too.

COOPER: Thank you. Thank you. I wish you peace.

More coming up as we wait to hear what the Supreme Court will say about Davis' scheduled execution.

Let's bring in Jeff Toobin.

You know, Jeff, no matter what side of this debate or case one is on, it is extraordinary that this has been going on for, what?, more than 22 years now, or 22 years? I mean what does that say about this system that is in place whether you are for execution or not?

TOOBIN: The system is broken. I mean, this is the -- this is one of the problems with the death penalty, is that we have this somewhat contradictory attitudes about it. We want certainty, we want this sort of punishment. But as the Supreme Court has said many times death is different.

The level of certainty we want and the level of fairness we want in a death penalty case is different from any other kind of case. So there is more scrutiny and more lawyers and more procedures in death penalty cases. So you have the situation where executions if they take place are -- can be 20 years after the crime.

I mean this case is unusual for a lot of reasons. But the length of delay is not all that unusual. And the suffering that puts on the victim's family, on the witnesses, and on the family of the defendant, and the defendant himself, is just awful.

COOPER: We're going to have more coming up as we wait to hear what the Supreme Court will say about Davis's scheduled execution.

Want to take a closer look at the case. In case you have not been following it. You know we just talked to his mom about the seven witnesses who either changed testimony or recanted their testimony. We want to show you in detail about this case. That's coming up.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'm on Twitter right now. I'll be tweeting some in this hour.

We'll have more breaking news.

Also a short time ago President Obama wrapped up his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. He's trying to get Abbas to delay his push for Palestinian statehood at the U.N.

We'll talk it over with our political analysts David Gergen and Gloria Borger.

Also tonight, up close, another high school student taking his own life. We told you Jamey Rodemeyer's story last night, 14 years old when he committed suicide. His parents say he was bullied again and again.

Bullying kills in America. It doesn't have to be this way. We're going to talk to Jamie's parents and his sister when we continue.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight. The delay in the scheduled execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. He was set to die by lethal injection at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. That is on hold as the U.S. Supreme Court considers a last-minute appeal. It could happen any minute now.

While we wait to see what the Supreme Court does, Gary Tuchman has details on why this case has generated so much attention.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's anything but a routine question. (On camera): How scared are you of possibly being executed?

(Voice-over): But it's relevant. Because the man I'm talking to, Troy Davis, may soon be a dead man. A jury only took a few hours to decide he was guilty of murdering a police officer in Savannah, Georgia. A few more hours to decide on lethal injection.

Brenda Forrest was one of the jurors.

BRENDA FORREST, JUROR AT TROY DAVIS TRIAL: He was definitely guilty. All of the witnesses, they were able to -- you know, to ID him as the person who actually did it.

TUCHMAN: There was no DNA or physical evidence against Davis. The primary reason he was convicted, witness testimony. The slain police officer's wife trusted the witnesses.

JOAN MACPHAIL, OFFICER MARK MACPHAIL'S WIDOW: They were just so adamant about what they saw, when they saw it.

TUCHMAN: But this is how the juror feels today.

FORREST: If I knew then what I know now Troy Davis would not be on death row. The verdict would be not guilty.

TUCHMAN: What she knows now is this. Almost all of the prosecution's star witnesses have changed their stories. Some saying police pressured them to say Troy Davis did it. One of those people is Darrell Collins, a prosecution witness who signed a police statement implicating Troy Davis.

DARRELL COLLINS, WITNESS AT TROY DAVIS TRIAL: I've told them over and over this is -- I didn't see this happen. They put what they wanted to put in that statement.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Savannah Police Officer Mark MacPhail was working on off-duty job here. He was providing security at night for this bus station and for this Burger King restaurant that is currently out of business. There was a homeless man in this parking lot that was being harassed and intimidated. He yelled for help.

The officer ran over and seconds later Officer Mark MacPhail was shot and killed. It was tragic, horrifying, and chaotic, and two decades later it all still is.

(Voice-over): The man who admitted to harassing the homeless person went to police the next day and told them he saw Troy Davis shoot the officer. Wanted posters went up all over Savannah. A reward offered to catch the so-called dangerous cop killer. Racial tensions inflamed.

After the shooting, Troy Davis was in Atlanta, four hours away. His sister say scared for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My brother decided to turn himself in, there already have a shoot to kill order on him. TUCHMAN: This man, Derrick Johnson, a pastor, got in touched with Davis. He volunteered to pick him up and drive him back to Savannah to surrender. He says Troy Davis insisted he was innocent. The pastor who has never told the story to a reporter before was stunned the DA's office never interviewed him.

(On camera): You're with this man for four hours. You're bringing him back to Savannah to police custody. They never interviewed you?


TUCHMAN: Never asked you a question about your journey?


TUCHMAN: What he said? If he had a weapon? Has he admitted to the crime?


TUCHMAN: If he did it for the crime?

JOHNSON: No. Nothing. And this is the one case where nobody wanted to know. And I don't think now looking back that anybody cared.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The pastor is one of many who now believe facts be damned, Troy Davis is going to be arrested for murder. As for the Savannah police they have always said their witness interviews were taken properly, no coercion, and prosecutors have stood by the conviction.

But a number of witnesses have signed affidavits changing their original testimony. Dorothy Farrell is one of them. A former prison inmate. She writes, "I was scared that if I didn't cooperate with the detective then he might find a way to have me locked up again. So I told the detective that Troy Davis was the shooter. Even though the truth was that I didn't see who shot the officer."

And a witness named Jeffrey Sapp now writes, "The police came and talked to me and put a lot of pressure on me to say Troy did this. They made it clear that the only way they would leave me alone is if I told them what they wanted to hear."

During the trial, Davis's attorneys tried to convince jurors, a man named Sylvester Coles was the killer. We tried to find Coles to give him a chance to have his say. We talked to his family members but could not track him down.

J. MACPHAIL: I don't believe that Red Coles is the one that killed Mark at all.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Back with us from the prison in Jackson, Georgia, is David Mattingly and in Washington, senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

So, Jeff, for viewers who are just joining, we are still waiting on figuring out what the Supreme Court is going to do.

TOOBIN: That's right. The -- there was a warrant today that said Troy Davis could be executed at 7:00 p.m. tonight. All of the courts --

COOPER: Jeff, let me jump in.


COOPER: Hey, David, what's going on?

MATTINGLY: Anderson, we're seeing a lot of Georgia State Patrol, it looks like, showing up here on the scene. Their sirens going, their lights flashing. Not exactly sure what they're doing here. They seem to be turning and parking, creating a barrier to one side of the entrance of the facility here.

We saw something similar to this a little while ago. Looked like sheriffs deputy vehicles doing the same thing on the other side. It's like they're creating some kind of barrier, some kind of perhaps show of force. But they're definitely coming in loud and with lights on for everyone to see.

COOPER: David --

MATTINGLY: It's only about a dozen cars --

COOPER: David, are these vehicles that were already on the scene? Or are these vehicle that are arriving new?

MATTINGLY: No. These have just now -- these have just now arrived. The state patrol, the ones with the lights flashing, they've just now got here. We're about 20 minutes ago we saw a similar bunch of sheriffs' cars, county law enforcement arrive and take their positions on that side of this gathering of all the officers here.

Over time the number of officers seems to be growing a little bit. But there doesn't seem to be anyone striking any sort of real defensive or active posture here. Everyone standing, watching.

And again, Anderson, as we all are, as the Supreme Court --


MATTINGLY: We're waiting on their ruling. Everyone's just waiting.

COOPER: And David, does word get -- I mean, how do people outside hear information? Is word just -- I mean does somebody come out and make an announcement to the crowd? MATTINGLY: No. I assume they all have their contacts with their cell phones with the organizations that have been -- have been organizing these protests and these demonstrations all along. It is the -- like Amnesty International, they're in close contact with the attorneys representing Davis with the Supreme Court.

COOPER: Right.

MATTINGLY: They've got a very short line of communication. And once somebody knows, they spread it to that crowd. And word travels pretty fast.

COOPER: And Jeff, how will we know when the Supreme Court has made a decision?

TOOBIN: They'll put the copy of the order up on their Web site. It's pretty straightforward. In these circumstances, the clerk's office gives the order to the Public Information Office and they put it up on the Web site. And we should know within a matter of a minute or two from when the -- when the order has been issued.

COOPER: Hard to know if one should read into anything by having knew -- the fact that new state troopers arriving and are creating some sort of barricade. You can read it, I guess, in multiple ways. But we'll leave the speculation up to others.

TOOBIN: I just don't know.

COOPER: Yes. We're going to continue to follow this throughout the hour.

Coming up more on the breaking news awaiting word from the Supreme Court about the scheduled execution of Troy Davis in Georgia.

Also ahead, learning more tonight about what may have driven 14- year-old Jamie Rodemeyer to kill himself just days ago. His family says he was bullied for years because of his sexuality.

I'll talk to his family and his sister ahead.


COOPER: We're awaiting word tonight from the Supreme Court about the scheduled execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. We'll bring you any updates as warranted throughout this hour. But first more breaking news now. High-stakes talks in the U.N. tonight to try and avoid a potential crisis. The Middle East peace process. The Obama administration is trying to avoid a showdown over Palestinian statehood.

Here in New York tonight, Secretary of State Clinton is meeting separately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This after President Obama met with both men himself.

Now a short a short time ago, Mr. Obama wrapped up his talks with Abbas. He's calling on the Palestinian leader to drop his controversial bid for statehood.

This morning in a speech at the U.N., President Obama explained why the U.S. is threatening a veto on the Palestinian's quest for statehood. A goal the president himself laid at the U.N. out this time last year.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then and I believe now that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves.


COOPER: Well, the president is calling on both sides to get back to negotiating table. Let's talk about what's at stake here. Joining me now is senior political analyst David Gergen.

So the Palestinians say they're going to submit a letter formally requesting from the U.N. on Friday. At this point, is there anything the U.S. can do to really prevent that?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not much. It can pressure and trying to do that. The president is making appeals to the Palestinians. There are threats coming from the Congress especially from Republicans if the Palestinians go forward with this, we'll cut off U.S. aide to the Palestinians.

We're trying to round up European votes and we have some friends although the French Leader Sarkozy came out sharply against what the president has been trying to do. But, Anderson, the likelihood is that they're going to go forward. I mean, all the indications are that the Palestinians are going to ask for statehood recognition from the Security Council this Friday.

COOPER: And what for -- why is the U.S. so opposed to that if President Obama is saying a year ago he's for Palestinian statehood?

GERGEN: That's a great question. It's exactly what the Arabs are asking. If you guys say you're for statehood for the Palestinians and they come and ask for it now at the U.N., isn't it hypocritical to vote against it?

And that's the -- but the president's argument is look, if they do this, if they get the statehood through the U.N. and not through the direct negotiations, it's actually going to make the peace talks much more difficult.

In fact, it could destroy all hopes for peace talks. We could see more violence here. It puts the U.S. which has promised to veto this at the Security Council in a really difficult position now. You know, this is actually -- almost -- could be a game changer in the Middle East. You know, we had these years and years. This really has been difficult to go from the anguish of Troy Davis to this longstanding a few, but we could be on the edge of a game changer that would really be profound.

If the Palestinians have in the past been recognized as something - they've had, quote, "been an observer entity." They've been called an entity. Now they could be called an observer state.

The first time they'd be legally recognized by the U.N. as a state. That could go through the general assembly and that gives them membership in a variety of U.N. organizations. And they can begin to put pressure -- if we're a state, you're occupying us under the U.N. you got to get out of here.

COOPER: You could that from the Palestinian perspective it strengthens their hand at the bargaining table.

GERGEN: Exactly. Absolutely strengthens their hand at the bargaining table and the Israelis feel wait a minute - and the Americans feel the only way to bring true peace is to have an understanding between the two peoples.

If the Israelis are cut out of this in effect, it's going to guarantee that it's going to make it much, much more difficult. But President Obama, what was interesting today is how frustrated he is. You know, a year ago, two years ago when he first came into office he had these grand visions.

Went to Cairo and talked about this transformative change that was going to come between the U.S. and the Arab nations. More than a year ago, he promised he'd have a deal by now between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He had this grand hope. Today we heard a very, very frustrated President Obama saying, you know, peace is a really hard thing to get done.

COOPER: So it seems like, I mean, unless the U.S. does something to change the Palestinians mind, this is going forward.

GERGEN: It does. And from the U.S. point of view now, they've been trying for days and days in fact weeks to stop this. And Abbas has been harder and harder saying I'm going to do it. The Palestinians said again today, we're going to do this.

So the play may well did, look, if you file and ask for this we'll actually delay the process of getting the vote in the Security Council for a few weeks to see if we can get direct talks started again.

And see if you can actually get some concessions on both sides and we can achieve through the negotiating process instead of this. So I think the next play by the United States is delay if he files on Friday.

COOPER: We'll watch. David Gergen, thanks very much. Up next, the latest from Georgia where we're waiting on word from the Supreme Court about whether or not Troy Davis will be executed tonight. You're looking live pictures from outside the prison where crowds have gathered. Davis' execution has been delayed about an hour and a half now. The latest next.

Also coming up, another teenager's life that ended way too soon. We told you about him last night. Jamey Rodemeyer, he was 14 years old. Blogged about how he was bullied. He actually made a video talking about how it gets better. In this past Sunday, he took his own life. I spoke with Jamey's family about his life and his pain ahead.


COOPER: Up close tonight, the tragic story of yet another teen whose family says he was bullied and bullied until it was too late. We told you about him last night. Jamey Rodemeyer, he was just 14 years old when he killed himself this weekend.

He was mature enough to talk about his pain. Sadly that wasn't enough. This past Sunday, Jamey committed suicide. He was a freshman at Williamsville North High School in Buffalo, New York.

Jamey's parents say he was targeted by school bullies because he was gay. Just four months ago, Jamey posted a video on Youtube part of "The It's Get Better Project," which spreads message of hope to lesbian and gay and bisexual youth. Here's Jamey's message of hope.


JAMEY RODEMEYER: And I just want to tell you that it does get better. When I came out for being bi, I got so much support from my friends and it made me feel so secure. And then if your friends or family isn't even there for you, I look up to one of the most supporting people of the gay community that I think of that I know.

Lady Gaga, she makes me so happy. She lets me know that I was born this way. That's my advice to you from her that you were born this way. Now just hold your head up and you'll go far. Because that's all you have to do. Just love yourself and you're set.


COOPER: Jamey went on to say he has so much support from people online. People were nice and caring. People that didn't ever want him to die. Earlier, I spoke with the Rodemeyer family, Jamey's sister, Elisa and his parents, Tim and Tracey.


COOPER: First of all, Tracey, how are you holding up?

TRACEY RODEMEYER, JAMEY'S MOTHER: Pretty good considering. I think considering all the attention that we are getting for my son's message. It's really keeping us occupied and it's making it a little bit easier to handle this situation.

COOPER: What was your son like? What was Jamey like?

TRACEY RODEMEYER: For a 14-year-old, he had the biggest heart in that little body. He was well loved by everybody, which included friends, teachers, and of course, family.

COOPER: You say he was well loved, but you also say bullying was a problem for him, yes?

TRACEY RODEMEYER: Right. I mean, it just seems like it was either end of the spectrum. He was either loved so sincerely or he was bullied. There wasn't much in between.

COOPER: Tim, were you aware of the bullying?

TIM RODEMEYER, JAMEY'S FATHER: Yes, we were. It started in middle school, which is fifth grade. In fifth, sixth, and seventh grade it always got -- it got progressively worse through those grades.

And we went to the school and we got some help from them. He was seeing a social worker and saw some counseling. And eighth grade seemed to be a little bit better for him, but it was still continuing in eighth grade.

COOPER: Tim, what do you want people to know? I mean, what do you want people to take away from what happened to Jamey?

TIM RODEMEYER: We're basically -- there's a twofold message here. One is the message of Jamey, and his message was that people should be treated the same no matter how different they are. No matter if they're black, white, gay, bisexual, disabled, fat, or skinny.

That was his big thing. He treated everyone equally and he was a big fan of Lady Gaga. And that just emphasized it more to him that people are born that way and there's no reason to pick on people. And there's no reason to make fun of people.

You should just accept people for who they are. The other part of this is the message of bullying. And we need to get a better system in our school districts, in our school systems to get rid of these bullies because it's a rampant problem not just here in western New York, but all over the country and all over the world. And the bullying needs to stop.

COOPER: Alyssa, I guess, you know, in your own school, in your own career in school you've probably seen bullying as well. What's your message to other kids out there?

ALYSSA RODEMEYER, JAMEY'S SISTER: I just want kids to know that if you are being bullied you should go to a teacher, a parent, a counselor, and you should go to friends. You should find someone.

And kids who are seeing bullying need to stop it and they need to get involved and help those kids out. Because if -- there's strength in numbers.

If one person stands up maybe they can't do much, but if a bunch of kids are standing up to that bully, he or she is powerless. And if you stand up to them, then they can't hurt anyone anymore.

COOPER: Tracey, I guess, one of the things that has struck so many people is to see that video of Jamey and to hear his voice and that he took the time to make a video telling others that it gets better. I mean, it just seems, you know, such a tragedy that in those terrible hours before his death that that message maybe was lost on him.

TRACEY RODEMEYER: I mean, that is one of the reasons -- if you look into his life, he did that in May, and from May to June at the end of school there everything seemed fine. And if we didn't have all these social networks out there, the Facebook, the internet in general that is where a lot of the bullying occurs.

So he wasn't in school for the months of July and August. And 20 years ago that would have meant you didn't have to worry about bullying. But because people can access each other in numbers so readily, it just made it still accessible for people to do their bullying.

So when we looked at Jamey's video, it seemed like he was able to cope with it. In fifth, sixth, and seventh grade he was so much more fragile and we had to watch him a lot more. It seemed as time was going, he was learning how to deal with it. And anyone that would watch that video would show, it seemed he was over the hump and wanted to send the message to everybody else because he knows how he felt.

He didn't want one more person to feel like him. You know, worthless, not worthy of being on this planet. That's just how he's been all the way up until the end. That it seemed like everything was fine.

COOPER: Tracey and Tim and Alyssa, I'm so sorry for your loss. I appreciate you coming on and talking about Jamey and sharing him with us. Thank you.

TRACEY RODEMEYER: Yes and I just hope this does a lot of good. Thank you.



COOPER: I hope so too. I wish you strength and peace in the days ahead.


COOPER: Jamey's parents also told me that he seemed fine the night before he died. And the one thing that caused him to take his own life remains the biggest mystery. What actually happened in those following minutes? We're going to continue to follow this report and issue here on "360."

In fact, we recently teamed up with Cartoon Network and Facebook to try to look at this from multiple angles. There's now an app on Facebook where you can pledge to do everything you can to help stop the bullying.

To find the app, go to Also we're going to have a series of special reports. Bullying it stops here starting October 9th right here on CNN. We really analyze bullying in one school and break it down and look at why it happens. It's a complex issue.

Coming up, the breaking news, the latest from Georgia where we're awaiting word from the U.S. Supreme Court about whether or not Troy Davis will be executed tonight. You're looking at live pictures outside the prison, security forces, law enforcement and demonstrators holding a vigil waiting for word.

Also coming up, an emotional reunion for two American hikers and their loved ones. They were freed today after being held in Iran for more than two years. The details of their release next.


COOPER: More on our breaking news out of Georgia. The execution of Troy Davis is on hold. He was supposed to die by lethal injection. You're looking at live picture outside the facility where he is to be executed. That is again right now on hold.

Georgia officials are waiting to hear from the Supreme Court, which is considering a last-minute appeal. Davis' case a made headlines around the world. Again, these were live pictures from outside the prison.

Protesters are among the thousands of people who believed that Davis didn't kill an off-duty Savannah police officer back in 1989. He was convicted of the murder in 1991, but since then seven the nine witnesses who testified against him either recanted or changed their testimony.

One of the other two, one of the men who others believe actually did commit the murder. Still the family of the officer and members of the jury still believe Davis is guilty. Once we hear the Supreme Court's decision, we'll obviously let you know.

Let's get caught up on some other stories we're following. Isha Sesay is back with the "360 News and Business Bulletin." Isha --

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the sweet taste of freedom for two American hikers released from an Iranian prison after more than two years. Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer bounded down the steps of the plane that took them into the arms of their families. They are arrested while hiking near Iran's border with Iraq and convicted of spying. Their sentences have been commuted.

Investigators in Mexico say a video may hold new clues to why 35 bodies and two trucks were abandoned yesterday on a highway. Authorities say most of the dead have been identified and had criminal records.

Tonight, there's new video of an Arkansas courthouse shooting. It shows the man who police say opened fire after demanding to see a judge and being told the judge wasn't in. The gunman was shot and killed.

And a day after the U.S. inspector general reported that the Justice Department served $16 muffins at a 2009 conference, a response from the White House. The Obama administration has ordered the heads of all federal agencies to review their spending on conferences. Must have been some muffins.

COOPER: I didn't know there were $16 muffins. Isha, thanks.

Next the latest from Georgia on the scheduled execution of Troy Davis now delayed by almost two hours. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight, the scheduled execution of Troy Davis delayed as officials await word from the Supreme Court. Back with us from the prison in Jackson, Georgia is David Mattingly and in Washington, senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

David, it seems like we were continuing to see a lot of police presence and cars were flashing lights outside the prison. I even understand there's helicopters overhead.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. Helicopters have been overhead for quite some time now. In just the last few minutes, we saw about another 20 Georgia state patrol cars coming in here with their sirens going and lights flashing.

And now as time's gone by, we now have over a hundred armed officers standing at the entrance of this facility here where the execution is taking place. I don't know who in the state of Georgia has been watching what's been going on here and is getting so nervous about this.

The crowd across the street has continued to remain orderly. They've continued to chant. They've continued to shout their support for Troy Davis. There have been no signs that they've been disrespectful towards officers or anything like that.

But at this moment with all these officers here, this fresh arrival of the new state patrol officers to join the ranks of the people gathered across the street are probably as quiet as I've heard them all night.

COOPER: About how many people have gathered across the street, David?

MATTINGLY: From this vantage point, it's easily hundreds. I don't want to say thousands because -- but who knows. From my vantage point, easily hundreds, easily more than that probably.

COOPER: And I mean, why -- is it just precaution? Is it intimidation? Is it -- what do you think? Just concern about the security of the facility?

MATTINGLY: Well, they're not taking a very aggressive posture. But they are in full riot gear, many of them, and they're standing here eyeball to eyeball with the people right across the street. They're not flinching in their gaze of watching the crowd from across a four lane highway.

They are all armed. At various times during the evening, we've seen them bring out big bags of the plastic cuffs they use in times when they have perhaps riots or something like that. But I have to emphasize here, throughout this last week as the demonstrations for Troy Davis have continued to grow and continued to get louder and more emphatic, they have always been orderly and always been peaceful.

And so far tonight, Anderson, there's no indication it's going to change in spite of what you see behind me.

COOPER: We're going to continue to follow this. We're going to be live in the 10:00 hour on "360" to bring you all the latest no matter what happens. We'll be live in the 10:00 hour.

David Mattingly will join us again. Jeff Toobin as well. That does it for this edition of 360. We'll be on again in one hour. We'll see you again at 10 p.m. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.