NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The next death row inmate scheduled to be executed in Tennessee has chosen to die in the electric chair.
Nicholas Todd Sutton, 58, was sentenced to death in 1985 for the murder of a fellow inmate at the Morgan County Correctional Facility. The victim, Carl Estep, was stabbed 38 times.
Sutton was already serving a life sentence for killing his grandmother, Dorothy Sutton, when he was 18 years old, and he also has been convicted of killing two men in North Carolina, John Large and Charles Almon, also when he was 18.
Sutton is set to be executed Feb. 20, though his lawyers are asking for clemency from Gov. Bill Lee because they say he has saved the lives of other inmates since he's been in prison. The governor hasn't responded so far.
Because he was sentenced to death before 1999, Sutton is able to choose the method of his own execution.
Four of the last five inmates executed in Tennessee chose the electric chair over lethal injection.
Tennessee inmates have unsuccessfully argued in court that the way the state carries out lethal injection results in a prolonged and agonizing death. They say one of the drugs administered to inmates during the process ends up essentially torturing the inmate.
The state Department of Correction resumed holding executions in August 2018, putting Billy Ray Irick of Knoxville to death by lethal injection.
Tennessee has pursued a steady schedule of executions ever since.
After Sutton, the next execution is set for June 4. Oscar Franklin Smith faces the death penalty for the 1989 murders of Judith Lynn Smith, 35, Chad Burnett, 16, and Jason Burnett, 13, in Nashville.
On Aug. 4, the state is set for put to death Harold Wayne Nichols for the 1988 rape and murder of Karen Pulley, 21, in Chattanooga.