Tennessee executes first death row prisoner since 2009

Convicted child rapist and murderer Billy Ray Irick became the first Tennessee prisoner executed in Tennessee since 2009.

“I just want to say I’m really sorry and that, that’s it,” were Irick’s last words, according to The Associated Press.

The execution took place after state and federal courts declined Irick’s appeals.

The Tennessean reported that family members of 7-year-old victim Paula Dyer watched in a separate room off the execution chamber apart from other witnesses. One man leaned up close to the glass and bit his nail. A woman had her face pressed almost to the window.

U.S. Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from her colleagues decision not to delay the execution.

“In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the Court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the state of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody, while shrouding his suffering behind a veneer of paralysis,” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent.

It was Tennessee’s 133rd execution since 1916.

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