Another execution in Tennessee has been scheduled one month from Tuesday. State capitol newsroom reporter Chris Bundgaard looks at the decision it leaves for the Governor.
By law, Governors can stop an execution if they choose. Governor Bill Haslam has talked about making that life and death decision.
“It’s probably the least fun thing I have done as Governor,” said Haslam back in August. “No not probably, it definitely is. (Pause) You know… again the Governor has a role to play so when you sign up for the job you have certain things you sign up for. That is probably the thing I was hoping most that would not happen when I was in office.”
Convicted child murderer and rapist Billy Ray Irick was executed August 9th after Governor Haslam denied a clemency request for mercy. The Governor says it’s not his job to re-hear cases or inject his personal views
“It is my job to look and say how did the process happen. Did all of the arguments get heard somewhere along the way? And did someone in the judicial process, either jury or judge, make the decision that was made with all the info and in this one, we felt the answer to those questions was yes,” said Haslam.
On Tuesday, the Governor said he’s received another clemency request for an execution scheduled October 11th. Edmund Zagorski was convicted of killing and robbing two men in 1983.
“We are reviewing that now just like we did with Billy Ray Irick with all the materials in front of us. We actually had a meeting yesterday on the reviewing process on that,” said Haslam Tuesday.
A clemency decision from a Governor usually comes just a few days before the scheduled election.
Several legal challenges are expected to try and stop the execution. They will likely center on questions raised about lethal injection. It’s the method most commonly used for executions in Tennessee.