Chicago: The US state of Tennessee used a controversial lethal injection procedure on Thursday to execute a man who was convicted of raping and killing a child, after the nation’s top court declined his final bid for a stay.
“I just want to say I’m really sorry. And that … that’s it,” Billy Ray Irick said in his final words before prison officials in Nashville, Tennessee. He was pronounced dead at 7.48 pm local time, officials said at a Press meet. Irick was the first inmate to be executed in Tennessee since 2009.
The US Supreme Court had earlier denied a stay of execution for the convict, rejecting concerns about the inmate potentially feeling sensations equivalent to being “burned alive”. The high court’s decision was countered with a blistering dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who questioned whether Billy Ray Irick’s planned execution would be too painful and whether allowing it to proceed required accepting “barbarism”. The 59-year-old was convicted in 1986 of raping and killing seven-year-old Paula Dyer. His lawyers have argued Irick has a history of severe mental illness.
In the Supreme Court, his lawyers challenged Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, which included the use of the sedative midazolam.