Death Penalty

After four years without an execution, Tennessee seeks dates for 10 lethal injections

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Tennessee has executed only six inmates since 1960 and none since 2009. Now its attorney general wants execution dates set for 10 condemned killers.

Attorney General Robert Cooper asked the state supreme court to set the dates in “an unprecedented push to carry out the death penalty,” the Tennessean reports. The 10 inmates have been on death row for an average of more than 27 years.

Executions in Tennessee were put on hold in 2011 because the state couldn’t obtain one of the drugs used for lethal injection. Now the state is prepared to use a new drug.

Nashville defense lawyer David Raybin told the Tennessean he suspects the state sought dates for so many executions because they were “sort of backed up.” He also believes the state may have acted after Paul Dennis Reid Jr., convicted of killing seven fast-food workers, died in the hospital before he could be executed.

“You’ve got a guy who killed all those people, the most infamous guy on death row, and he dies a natural death,” Raybin told the newspaper. “Some people could say, ‘We’re offended because he wasn’t executed.’ ”

Hat tip to @MikeScarcella.

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