Tennessee continues to push for executions, setting two more

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee on Monday set two new execution dates, days after putting to death its seventh inmate in the past year and a half.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ordered an Oct. 8 execution date for Byron Black and a Dec. 3 execution date for Pervis Payne.

Black was convicted by a Nashville court of murdering his girlfriend Angela Clay and her daughters Latoya, 9, and Lakesha, 6, at their home in 1988. Prosecutors said he shot the three during a jealous rage. Black was on work release at the time for shooting and injuring Clay’s estranged husband.

Payne was sentenced to death in Memphis for the 1987 fatal stabbing of Charisse Christopher and her daughter, Lacie Jo, in what prosecutors called a “drug-induced frenzy.” Christopher’s son, Nicholas, who was 3 at the time, was also stabbed but survived. Payne claimed at trial that he saw someone else leave the apartment and he got blood on him when he touched the victims after they had been stabbed.

Attorneys for the inmates have argued that both men are intellectually disabled and mentally ill. The court has ordered a competency hearing for Black to determine whether he is competent to be executed.

Two other executions are already scheduled for 2020, so if all go forward as planned, Tennessee will execute five inmates this year, something it hasn’t done since 1948, according to execution records from the Tennessee Department of Correction.

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