Supreme Court declines to move up executions before June 1


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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Supreme Court has denied the state attorney general’s request to move up eight execution dates before June 1.

Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the requests February 5 and cited “ongoing difficulty” getting lethal injection drugs.

The court on Thursday did set execution dates for two of the inmates, Oct. 11 for Edmund Zagorski, who was convicted of two murders, and Dec. 6 for David Earl Miller, who was convicted of murdering a mentally disabled woman.

Tennessee hasn’t put anyone to death since 2009.

Slatery’s motions also included Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, Leroy Hall, Donnie Johnson, Nicholas Todd Sutton, Stephen Michael West and Charles Walton Wright. The eight have sued over the state’s lethal injection protocol.

In its original motion, the state said it’s “required by law to carry out death sentences by lethal injection, …But its ability to do so after June l, 2018, is uncertain due to ongoing difficulty in obtaining the necessary lethal injection chemicals.”

The state argued each of the eight inmates “have been sitting on death row for years, stalling the executions through the appeals process.”

As of February 15, all of them have exhausted the standard three-tier appeals process, the state said, and to no avail.

The Supreme Court previously set an execution date of Aug. 9 for a condemned inmate whose appeals have been exhausted, Billy Ray Irick.

It’s unclear when the state will set dates for the remaining inmates.


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