Tennessee death row inmate Irick to be executed in January

Tennessee death row inmate Irick to be executed in January

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Billy Ray Irick (source: Tennessee Department of Correction) Billy Ray Irick (source: Tennessee Department of Correction)

NASHVILLE (WATE) - Tennessee has scheduled its first execution in nearly five years for January. It will also be the first using a new single-drug method.

Billy Ray Irick, 55, is scheduled to be executed on January 15 according to Tennessee Department of Correction spokesperson Dorinda Carter. The execution order was filed Tuesday.

Irick was convicted in the 1985 rape and killing of 7-year-old Paula Kery Dyer, a Knoxville girl he was babysitting.

Attorney Gene Shiles said he is not surprised by the announcement, but is disappointed by the decision and still plans to appeal.

Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also issued a statement.

"Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty is deeply disappointed that the state is moving forward to resume executions in Tennessee. Tennessee's death penalty system continues to be plagued with a lack of fairness in its application, the continued risk of executing the innocent, and costs to taxpayers that far exceed the costs of available alternatives like life without parole. Rather than spending millions of dollars to execute an individual who has suffered with severe mental illness since childhood like Billy Ray Irick, Tennessee could better spend that money to ensure that such individuals have access to the mental health treatment they need before a horrible tragedy occurs."

Tennessee announced last month that it's switching from a three-drug lethal injection method to using only the sedative pentobarbital to put an inmate to death.

There are 79 inmates on Tennessee's death row, including one woman.

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