The pending execution of Billy Irick on Thursday will be the first in Tennessee since 2009.

There were six executions during that decade, but before Robert Coe was put to death in 2000, it had been 60 years since a convicted criminal paid the ultimate price in the state.

On November 7, 1960, William Tines of was electrocuted for beating and raping a woman after he escaped from prison.

More News

Next Story

Not Available

Just For You

Not Available

Trending

Not Available
tines resize_1533846634988.JPG.jpg

The 37-year-old from Knox County was already a convicted murderer. He was serving time in Brushy Mountain State Prison in Morgan County for killing two men in Knoxville. While there, he escaped not once, but twice.

In April of 1957, on the run, Tines broke into a house in Roane County, where he beat and raped a middle-aged housekeeper.

Tines was arrested and went to trial that July in the old Roane County courthouse. Looking back, many legal experts believe the odds were stacked against him, whether he was guilty or not. He was black. His victim was white.

"I'm not sure that there was a lot of doubt about his guilt but the procedures used were astoundingly unfair," Neil Cohen, a UT professor, told 10News in a 2000 interview.

Tines confessed to the beating, but denied the rape charge.

"11 of the 13 grand jurors who indicted Tines were witnesses against him, including his victim," Cohen said.

In in the end, Tines was handed the ultimate sentence-- death by the electric chair. The execution was carried out three years later.

His last words were "Pray for me."

Other than a few articles in local papers, his execution received little attention. Executions were far more common then across the country.

(13:06) we've had periods in recent history where we were executing about one person a week in our country and you can imagine no execution was that big a deal...just a common part of life. In Tennessee, 46 people had been executed in the 40's and 50's.

After his execution, Tines' mother would bring his body to rest at the Good Samaritan Cemetery in Knoxville. You won't find his headstone because it's no longer standing.

An offender can no longer be sentenced to death for rape in Tennessee. The statues under which Tines was convicted and sentenced was taken off the books in 1974.