NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Billy Ray Irick is scheduled to be the first person executed in the state of Tennessee since 2009. Since the U.S. Supreme Court denied to hear his case, the execution will take place Thursday at 8 p.m. EST.
WVLT News' Brittany Tarwater is in Nashville serving as an official witness to Irick's execution. Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones is there too, as well as a number of other media representatives, Irick's attorney and Deputy Attorney Genreal Scott Southerland.
Irick chose his last meal on Thursday to be a "Super Deluxe Combo." Irick's attorneys filed a number of motions in the weeks leading up to his execution date, even taking his case to the U.S. Supreme Court after exhausting all options in the state of Tennessee. However Justice Elena Kagan denied to hear his case on Thursday afternoon, just five hours before his scheduled execution time.
Irick is one of 61 currently waiting on death row, and one of 12 from East Tennessee. While few prisoners have been executed in the state in recent history — the most recent in 2009 — an East Tennessean has not been executed since 1960.
Irick has been waiting on death row since his first degree murder conviction on Dec. 3, 1986. However, two other inmates have spent more time on death row than Irick. David Miller was sentenced to the death penalty on March 17, 1982, and Terry King was sentenced February 6, 1985.
Irick was placed on Death Watch late Monday, which is a process that begins three days before an execution. Irick will be moved to an 8x10 cell adjacent to the execution chamber.
He was under 24 hour surveillance, in order to maintain his safety until the time for the execution to take place. The items he can have in the cell are limited, visitation schedule and regulations will differ from the rest of the prison, and the media will not allowed to interview him during death watch.