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Dark Reason Death Row Inmate Chose To Be Killed By The Electric Chair

Dark Reason Death Row Inmate Chose To Be Killed By The Electric Chair

A death row inmate has chosen to be executed by the electric chair just hours before he was due to be killed.

In a last-minute change, Stephen Michael West opted for 'Old Smokey' as it has come to be known as, rather than receive the standard injection.

The reason is that he is worried the injection would drag his death out and would be too painful. He is reportedly the third inmate in the past 10 months to choose the chair - following several botched executions.

In November last year, Edmund Zagorski, 63, opted for the electric chair, as did David Earl Miller, 61, a month later.

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The lethal injection is the standard method of execution in the state of Tennessee. However, those prisoners sentenced before January 1999 are allowed to choose the electric chair instead.

West opted for the electric chair rather than the lethal injection. Credit: Tennessee Department of Correction
West opted for the electric chair rather than the lethal injection. Credit: Tennessee Department of Correction

A spokesperson for the state's Department of Correction said: "The method of execution for inmate Stephen West will be electrocution, per the inmate's request."

Governor Bill Lee allowed the late change and said he would not stand in the way of the execution.

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West was handed the death penalty after being convicted in 1987 for the murders of Wanda Romines, 51, and her young daughter Sheila Romines, 15, who he stabbed in their home in 1986.

According to reports in the Tennessean, West stabbed the teenager 17 times in the stomach, 14 of which were consistent with 'torture-type cuts'.

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West was also found guilty of having raped Sheila before she died. However, during the trial, he blamed the crimes on his 17-year-old McDonald's co-worker, who went to high school with Sheila.

The teenager blamed West, who was convicted of first-degree murder, aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping.

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West was convicted for the murder of a mother and daughter. Credit: WBIR
West was convicted for the murder of a mother and daughter. Credit: WBIR

His young co-defendant was also convicted for his part in the crimes but was sentenced to time in prison as he was too young to face the death penalty.

West is one of many death row inmates who have attempted, unsuccessfully, to challenge the state's default position on the lethal injection.

Prisoners claim the method is unconstitutional because the first drug, midazolam, doesn't dull the pain caused by the second and third.

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Before he is executed, West will also be served a Philly cheesesteak and French fries as a final meal.

Prisoners in the state are given a $20 allowance to spend on a meal of their choice.

West is set to be executed today.

Featured Image Credit: Tennessee Department of Correction

Topics: Death Penalty, Interesting, US News, crime

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]