"TN inmate Billy Ray Irick's execution postponed," is by Brian Haas for the Tennessean.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has rescheduled the execution of convicted murderer Billy Ray Irick.
Irick, who raped and killed a 7-year-old Knoxville girl he had been baby-sitting in 1985, had been scheduled to die by lethal injection on Jan. 15 in a wave of executions Tennessee is seeking to carry out. But the Supreme Court has rescheduled the execution for Oct. 7 because of new legal challenges to the way Tennessee plans to put the condemned to death.
Tennessee’s executions have been on hold for at least two years because a key lethal injection drug, sodium thiopental, became unavailable. It wasn’t until September of this year that the state settled on a replacement, the anasthetic pentobarbital, often used in animal euthanasia.
State officials, thinking the drug switch cleared the way to begin executions, have asked the Supreme Court for dates to execute at least 11 inmates. So far, it has scheduled executions for only Irick and Nickolus Johnson, who is scheduled to be put to death April 22 for killing a Bristol police officer in 2004.
But on Tuesday the court said that new legal challenges questioning the use of pentobarbital must be answered before it can be used in an execution.
“Mr. Irick is correct that, currently, there is no controlling law in Tennessee on the constitutionality of the use of the single drug Pentobarbital to execute a death row inmate,” the court said in its order postponing Irick’s execution.
Earlier coverage from Tennesse begins at the link.