The Tennessee Supreme Court set execution dates Friday for six inmates, including two from East Tennessee, on death row.
The six executions scheduled will occur in 2019 and 2020.
The executions scheduled on Friday include:
- Donnie Edward Johnson, May 16, 2019, convicted in 1985 of killing his wife Connie Johnson in Shelby County.
- Stephen Michael West, Aug. 15, 2019, convicted of the murder of Wanda Romines and the murder and rape of Sheila Romines in Union County in 1986.
- Charles Walton Wright, Oct. 10, 2019, convicted of the murders of Gerald Mitchell and Douglas Alexander in Davidson County in 1984.
- 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.
All of the defendants had previous execution dates set, which were stayed for pending legislation.
A federal judge on Thursday denied a request to delay death row inmate David Earl Miller's execution while his lawsuit arguing for a firing squad is pending.
It was a significant loss that suggests the state's next execution could move forward as scheduled on Dec. 6, as long as the state allows phone access for Miller's defense attorney during the execution.
Miller is scheduled to die for the 1981 murder of 23-year-old Lee Standifer in Knoxville.
He would be the third inmate to be executed in Tennessee in 2018. More than two dozen death row inmates have sued to block a new cocktail of lethal injection drugs.
A trial court rejected the challenge in July, and the Tennessee Supreme Court moved quickly to hear the appeal. During oral arguments, the justices focused on the legal requirement that the inmates show a viable alternative to the execution method they challenged.
Attorneys for the inmates argued the state's past acceptance of pentobarbital, and the usage of that drug in other states, showed that at least one alternative was available. They also claimed the state blocked their attempts to question Department of Correction officials who could discuss details about the availability of alternatives.
In August, the state executed Billy Ray Irick after all of his appeals had been exhausted. In November, Edmund Zagorski was executed. He received a temporary reprieve from Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.
USAToday Network contributed to this story.