Billy Ray Irick is scheduled to die August 9. Irick, who was convicted of the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl in Knoxville in 1985, would be the first death-row inmate in Tennessee to be executed since 2009.
Irick’s attorneys filed a motion this morning to delay the execution, citing a July 5 appeal of the lethal-injection cocktail of midazolam, vecuronium bromide and compounded potassium chloride.
The state adopted the use of the three-drug lethal-injection protocol in January. It had previously used the barbiturate pentobarbital, but the drug’s manufacturers have stopped selling it for use as in executions.
A judge had upheld the state’s use of the controversial drug combination for executions in the face of challenges by 33 death-row inmates.
An attorney for the 33 inmates says his clients will appeal the ruling.
The inmates purportedly object to the use of midazolam, which experts claim is ineffective as a lethal-injection drug, as it may leave the condemned awake and fully aware of the poison as it kills.