Tennessee Supreme Court postpones execution amid court challenge

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 25, 2014 8:05 PM

(Reuters) - The Tennessee Supreme Court on Wednesday granted the request of a death row inmate to postpone his execution so that a court challenge to the state's execution methods can work its way through the judicial system, court documents showed.

Billy Ray Irick, who was scheduled to die on Oct. 7, is one of 11 death row inmates in Tennessee who are challenging the constitutionality of lethal drug protocol and its possible use of the electric chair, according to court documents.

Lethal injection in the United States has come under scrutiny after inmates in a series of botched executions in Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona were given the drug and took longer to die than is typical, showing signs of distress.

The state Supreme Court did not set a new date for execution of Irick, who was convicted of the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl from Knoxville in 1985.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Sandra Maler)