KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Following Stephen West's execution Thursday night, three more Tennessee death row inmates are scheduled to die in the next year and a half.
Lee Hall Jr., Nicky Todd Sutton, and Abu-Ali Abdur'Rahman, formerly known as James Jones.
But a lot can change between now the next execution, scheduled for December.
"It's not at all unusual for legal proceedings to continue up to the actual moment of death," said Penny White.
White is a former state supreme court justice and current director of the Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution at UT's School of Law.
She said when an execution date is set, it is never final.
"When somebody's sentenced to death, trying to put a period at the end of the process is not realistic," White said.
That's because several appeals and lawsuits can be filed between setting a date and executing an inmate.
Death row inmates can be granted a stay of execution by a federal court, the state supreme court or the governor.
"When we're talking about taking a life, we really shouldn't be worrying about making it fast," White said. "We should be worrying about getting it right."
Tennessee's next scheduled execution is on Dec. 5.
Lee Hall Jr. was convicted of killing Chattanooga woman Traci Crozier in 1991.
He set her car on fire while she was still inside.
Crozier died from second and third-degree burns.
Hall Jr. was granted a stay of execution before his original execution date in 2016.
"People are challenging the ways that we execute," White said. "They are saying that the method itself is cruel and that violates the constitution."
If Hall Jr. is not granted a stay this time, he will be the second and final Tennessee death row inmate executed in 2019.
Nicky Todd Sutton will be the first execution of 2020, scheduled for Feb. 20.
He was convicted of his grandmother's murder in Morristown, and later the murder of a fellow inmate while serving time in Morgan County.
Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, formerly known as James Lee Jones, is set to die on April 9, 2020.
He is convicted of the murder of Patrick Daniels in 1986 in Davidson County.