Romines family: West stay of execution drags case on too long

Romines family says West stay of execution drags case on too long

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By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After the Tennessee Supreme Court stayed the execution of Stephen Michael West, the family of his victims say it is just more torture for them.

They were expecting West to be killed by lethal injection Tuesday night.

Sheila Romines, 15, was a ninth grader at Anderson County High School and a member of the freshman basketball team.

In March 1986, she and her mother, Wanda Romines, were tied up, raped and stabbed in their home. Sheila was stabbed 17 times. The family says Wanda, 51, had her breasts cut off.

Jack Romines, Sheila's father and Wanda's husband came home to find them murdered and satanic symbols painted around the home.

Jack passed away from a heart attack three years ago.

Wanda's son, who is Sheila's older brother David Rucker, lives in Paducah, Kentucky now.

"For Tennessee to continue to spend money to keep this man alive, this is one of the biggest crimes I've seen in the state. That is why 90 people are on death row in Tennessee because it does not matter how big of a crime you commit to get there, they give you life you don't even have. I was under the impression convicted felons give up those rights," Rucker said.

Friends say West's execution is also about closure for an entire terrorized community.

Cynthia Bridges rode the school bus with Sheila. Even as an adult, she's still haunted by what happened.

"Parents were double, triple, quadruple checking their doors at night after that. Kids who were up until then allowed to stay at home by themselves were no longer. I remember that if a strange car drove up the driveway, we'd go into hiding because there was so much fear," Bridges said.

If Sheila Romines had lived, she would have celebrated her 40th birthday over this Thanksgiving weekend.

"Her own children, had she had them, would have been older than she was when she was murdered," said Bridges.

The Supreme Court's decision has many saying the case has dragged on too long.

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