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Gubernatorial candidates Lee, Dean weigh in on use of death penalty in Tennessee

The candidates weighed in on how they felt about the death penalty weeks after the state's first execution in nearly a decade.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Karl Dean, left, and Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Lee.

Weeks after Tennessee's first execution in decades, gubernatorial candidates are weighing in about their thoughts on the issue.

Both Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean largely stayed out of the debate when 59-year-old Billy Ray Irick was put to death, the first such execution in the state in nearly a decade.

Both candidates refused to say whether Gov. Bill Haslam should have intervened in the case, but on the broader issue -- Lee said he believes the death penalty is appropriate in the most heinous crimes.

Dean explained his stance to 10News earlier this month, saying he believes there are legitimate questions about the death penalty tha need to be discusses and answered. If he were elected governor, Dean said he would 'follow the law' when it came time for a decision.

►Read more: Karl Dean, Bill Lee agree on Tennessee's need for widesprerad broadband internet access

Voters in Tennessee will head to the polls to choose a new governor on Nov. 6.