US Supreme Court denies Billy Ray Irick's request for stay of execution

Billy Ray Irick. (Tennessee Department of Corrections)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied Billy Ray Irick’s request for a stay of execution.

Irick is slated to be executed at 7 p.m. Thursday. He was convicted in the 1985 rape and murder of 7-year-old Paula Dyer, who he was babysitting in Knoxville.

The Tennessee Department of Corrections said Irick received his final meal at 3 p.m. He chose a super deluxe combo, which includes a super deluxe burger, onion rings, and a Pepsi.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court denied a stay of Irick's execution, saying a lawsuit filed by inmates contesting the execution drugs being used wasn't likely to succeed. Gov. Bill Haslam also declined to intervene.

The Catholic bishops of the Dioceses of Nashville and Knoxville issued a statement in opposition of Irick's execution.

"The state has the obligation to protect all people and to impose just punishment for crimes, but in the modern world the death penalty is not required for either of these ends," the statement reads. "We echo the words of Pope Francis, who recently declared as definitive teaching that 'in light of the Gospel,' the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases 'because it attacks the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.'"

"We pray that God’s healing mercy will provide consolation and everlasting peace to Paula Dyer and her family," the Dioceses said. "We pray for the same mercy, consolation, and peace for Billy Ray Irick and his family."

The state plans to carry out Irick's execution using Midazolam. Some organizations argue that the drug could increase the possibility of complications as it has been associated with problematic executions across the country. The state said the chancery court found that the drug does not elicit effects, but that inmates could be able to feel pain from the administration of the second and third drugs during the execution.

An organization called Tennesseans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty plans to host a vigil for Irick at Fisk Memorial Chapel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Click here to read the denial.

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