NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee inmate who was scheduled to face execution in October has died in prison of natural causes, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

TDOC said 63-year-old Charles Wright was pronounced dead just before noon Friday. Authorities have requested an autopsy. 

According to the Associated Press, Wright had been dying of terminal cancer. 

Charles Wright
Charles Wright

Wright was convicted of premeditated murder after shooting and killing two men from Murfreesboro -- Gerald Mitchell and Douglas Alexander -- during a drug deal in a Nashville park on July 18, 1984.

The State sought the death penalty on the grounds that the second murder happened while Wright was committing, attempting to commit or fleeing after committing another murder. Both the jury and judge concurred, and on April 5, 1985 Wright was sentenced to death by electrocution.

Wright spent 34 years at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, and was scheduled to face execution on Oct. 10, 2019.

Wright's death comes less than 24 hours after Tennessee executed Memphis killer Donnie Johnson by lethal injection, who was convicted of brutally killing his wife by suffocating her with a trash bag weeks before Christmas.

Johnson was put to death by lethal injection at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. His last words before singing two hymns were 'I commend my life into your hands. Thy will be done. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.'

With their deaths, Tennessee now has four other executions scheduled for 2019 and 2020:

  • Stephen Michael West, convicted of the murder of Wanda Romines and the murder and rape of Sheila Romines in Union County in 1986, is set to be executed on Aug. 15.
  • Lee Hall, aka Leroy Hall Jr., Dec. 5, 2019, convicted of the murder of Traci Crozier in Hamilton County in 1991.
  • Nicholas Todd Sutton, Feb. 20, 2020, convicted of the murder of Carl Estep in 1985 in Morgan County. He was earlier convicted of the murder of his grandmother.
  • Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman, formerly known as James Lee Jones, April 9, 2020, convicted of the murder of Patrick Daniels in 1986 in Davidson County.

Executions in Tennessee 

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