Tennessee Man Scheduled For Execution This Week Chooses The Electric Chair | Nashville Public Radio

Tennessee Man Scheduled For Execution This Week Chooses The Electric Chair

Aug 14, 2019

An East Tennessee man sentenced to death has opted for electrocution over lethal injection.

Stephen West is scheduled to be executed on Thursday. He would be the third person put to death in Tennessee's electric chair in the past year.

The state's default is lethal injection, which is the execution method prison officials were planning for. Last November, another inmate made a last-minute decision to die by electric chair, requiring the Tennessee Department of Correction to extend its deadline.

In Tennessee, people convicted of crimes committed before 1999 can choose between the state's two forms of execution. West has been part of a class-action suit filed on behalf of death row inmates in Tennessee that questions whether the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol causes intense pain. 

West received the death penalty for the 1986 rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl and her mother in Lake City, Tennessee. West has contended that he didn't actually commit the killings. His attorneys also say he's suffered from severe mental illness, the result of childhood neglect and abuse.

On Tuesday, Gov. Bill Lee declined West's request for clemency.