WVLT reporter gives witness statement to Irick's execution

WVLT's Brittany Tarwater was among the media present to witness the execution of convicted murderer Billy Ray Irick.

Tarwater was in the media viewing area of the execution chamber.

"It's certainly a heavy day here at on campus," Tarwater said at the Riverbend Maximum Security Facility.

Irick was executed by lethal injection at 8:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

After, TDOC held a press conference where media representatives were allowed to give their statements. Tarwater began her statement by saying, "When we entered the prison, we went through security and then were taken to a room with...one table and several chairs and waited until we were called into another room...kind of like a waiting area."

"We went into the witness room. There were three sets of five chairs all facing towards the execution chamber...the lights were out in that room for almost 45 minutes," Tarwater continued.

"When they opened the...curtains...Billy Ray Irick was already laid on the gurney and had the IVs in his arm. He had on a white, cotton outfit with black socks and had several straps that were across his body...everything that you are expecting to see."

According to Tarwater, two men in black suits faced Irick with their backs turned to the witnesses and asked if he had any last words. "At first he responded with 'no,' and then a few seconds later he did respond with 'Well, I just wanna say that I am very sorry, and that's it'."

"Shortly after that was when we can assume the first drugs were administered," she said.

Irick's execution was the first in Tennessee since 2009. He was the first East Tennessean executed since 1960.

Protesters were allowed to gather outside the facility where Irick's execution took place. Groups who both support and oppose the death penalty had designated areas around the facility.

Tarwater was just one of seven state mandated media members to witness the execution.