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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Texas: Danny Bible denied clemency 2 days before scheduled execution

Texas' death house, The Walls Unit, Huntsville.
With two days to go before his scheduled date with death, Houston serial killer Danny Bible on Monday lost out on a bid for clemency.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles denied the aging prisoner's plea in a 6-0 vote, according to his attorneys. He's now scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday in the Huntsville death chamber.

But the 66-year-old condemned killer still has a shot at a stay from the federal courts, where his attorneys have launched a lawsuit claiming he's in such poor health he can't be executed. That claim is currently in front of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bible was sentenced to death in 2003, after he confessed to the 1979 slaying of Inez Deaton. The young mother had been stabbed 11 times with an ice pick and left along the slope of a Houston bayou.

In 1984, he was sent to prison for killing his sister-in-law Tracy Powers and her infant son Justin. Then, he killed her roommate, Pam Hudgins, and left the woman's body hanging from a roadside fence.

He was released after eight years behind bars, and went on to rape and molest multiple young relatives, including a 5-year-old. In 1998, he raped a woman in a Louisiana motel room, then stuffed her in a duffel bag before she broke free and called for help.

Bible was eventually caught in Florida and extradited to Louisiana, where he confessed to his crimes.

But in their clemency petition, Bible's lawyers wrote that he'd admitted to the earlier slaying in exchange for a promise of avoiding the death chamber - a promise they said was "clearly not honored by the state."

Attorneys also told of Bible's transformation from four-time killer to remorseful Christian, and said that he's no longer a future danger given his poor medical condition. Bible has Parkinson's and uses a wheelchair, a fact that has come up repeatedly in appeals over the past decade.

Texas has already executed six men this year, including another Houston serial killer, Anthony Shore. Aside from Bible's, there are seven other death dates on the calendar in Texas.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Keri Blakinger, June 25, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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