3 executions set for Tennessee this year; last was in 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Three executions are scheduled this year in Tennessee, which would mark the first time the state puts someone to death since 2009, a prisons official confirmed Thursday.

Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor said James Hawkins, Billy Ray Irick and Sedrick Clayton are slated for execution. The department has the necessary drugs for lethal injection, Taylor added.

Hawkins, 40, was convicted of murdering the mother of his three children in 2008. He is scheduled to die May 9.

Irick’s execution is set for Aug. 9. The 59-year-old was convicted of raping and killing a 7-year-old Knoxville girl in 1985.

Clayton is slated to be executed Nov. 28. The 34-year-old was convicted of killing his girlfriend and her parents in 2012.

State Supreme Court spokeswoman Barbara Peck said Hawkins and Clayton have two of three appeal options remaining, while Irick has completed his.

“Clayton and Hawkins completed the direct appeal process in 2017,” Peck said. “They have one year to file for post-conviction relief. They also have federal habeas corpus relief options.”

In Tennessee, executions are carried out through lethal injection unless the drugs are unavailable, in which case, the electric chair will be used.

Additionally, death row inmates whose offenses came before January 1999 can choose the electric chair or lethal injection. The last time Tennessee put someone to death by electric chair was 2007.

In March, the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously upheld the state’s lethal injection procedure.

Executions were put on hold in 2015 pending the court’s decision after death row inmates challenged Tennessee’s announced change to a single dose of pentobarbital, a barbiturate regularly used by veterinarians to euthanize animals. It replaced a three-drug method.

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