Tennessee schedules 10 executions in 2014 and 2015

Feb. 6, 2014 at 3:40 PM
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NASHVILLE, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Tennessee has set execution dates for three inmates this year and seven in 2015, officials said.

The first is set for April 22, the (Nashville) Tennessean reported. Nickolus Johnson was condemned to death for killing a police officer in 2004.

The state, like many others, is changing its execution protocol because of a shortage of the drugs previously used for lethal injections.

Gov. Bill Haslam told the newspaper in an editorial board session Wednesday he did not set the schedule but supports capital punishment.

"The death penalty has been approved by the state," he said. "It's been our policy. When I ran, I got asked that question, and I said I will follow what the juries decide."

Kelly Henry, who heads the capital punishment unit in the Nashville Public Defender's Office, is involved in a legal challenge to Tennessee's execution protocol.

"Each and every one of these cases has a story that is an example of how the death penalty system in Tennessee is broken," she told the Tennessean. "They each have different stories of ineffective counsel, of evidence that was suppressed by the state, stories of trauma and mental abuse that were never presented to a jury or a judge."

Tennessee has only executed six people since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed executions to resume in 1976, according to Wikipedia. It currently has 84 inmates on death row.

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