"Execution date set for 2nd TN inmate," is by Brian Haas in the Tennessean.
Tennessee has moved death row inmate Billy Ray Irick to the front of the line to be executed in Tennessee.
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Irick to be executed by lethal injection on Jan. 15, putting him ahead of death row inmate Nickolus Johnson, who is scheduled to die April 22. Johnson, who killed Bristol Police Officer Mark Vance in 2004, was the first person scheduled to die in Tennessee in more than a year and a half.
The two execution dates come after Tennessee correction officials finally decided on a new drug to use in lethal injections, after a key drug the state used to use became unavailable. The new protocol switches from a three-drug cocktail to just one: pentobarbital, an anesthetic used in animal euthanasia.
The state’s old protocol involved the use of sodium thiopental, which was used to render the condemned unconscious before the two other drugs killed them — a key factor in staving off claims of “cruel and unusual punishment” that would violate the Constitution. But the drug’s manufacturer stopped producing the drug in 2010. Tennessee scrambled to obtain more thiopental, turning to a questionable overseas source, but it had its stockpile seized in 2011 by federal authorities investigating whether the drugs were illegally imported.
Earlier coverage from Tennessee begins at the link.