TN Death row inmate Stephen Michael West chooses electrocution as method of execution

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This booking photo released by the Tennessee Department of Corrections shows Stephen West. The Tennessee death row inmate is asking Gov. Bill Lee to spare his life, maintaining that he didn’t actually kill a mother or her daughter three decades ago. West’s clemency application says his co-defendant, then-17-year-old Ronnie Martin, stabbed both people to death. His execution is slated for Aug. 15. Martin is serving a life sentence and is eligible for parole in 2030. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP)

UPDATE 8/14/2019 – From the Tennessee Department of Correction: “The method of execution for inmate Stephen West will be electrocution, per the inmate’s request. Under Tennessee law, offenders whose crimes were committed before January 1, 1999 may select lethal injection or electrocution as the method of execution.”

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8/13/2019 – A Tennessee death row inmate convicted in Union County scheduled to be executed has been moved to death watch. And Tennessee Governor Bill Lee says he will not intervene in the execution.

Stephen Michael West was found guilty of the 1986 kidnapping and stabbing deaths of Wanda Romines and her daughter Sheila Romines. He is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Tuesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee released the following statement: “After thorough consideration of Stephen West’s request for clemency and a review of the case, the State of Tennessee’s sentence will stand, and I will not be intervening.”

Death watch is the three-day period before an execution when strict guidelines are implemented to maintain the security and control of the offender and to maintain safe and orderly operations of the prison.  During this period, the offender is placed in a cell adjacent to the execution chamber where he or she is under 24-hour observation by a team of correctional officers. 

In a clemency plea to Gov. Bill Lee earlier this month, attorneys for Stephen Michael West said then 17-year-old Ronnie Martin actually killed both victims. West was 23 at the time. Their cases were separated, and while West was sentenced to death, Martin pleaded guilty and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 2030 as a juvenile ineligible for the death penalty.

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