Gov. Lee grants inmate temporary reprieve from execution
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Governor Bill Lee announced that Oscar Smith will not be executed on Thursday. The decision came roughly one hour before his scheduled lethal injection.
In a statement provided by Gov. Lee, he explained why the execution will not happen as planned.
According to the official order, the reprieve will be in effect until June 1st. Smith’s execution will be scheduled on or after that date.
In Nashville, 72-year-old Smith was convicted of murder in the 1989 triple slayings of his estranged wife Judith Lynn Robirds Smith and her two sons from a previous marriage, Chad and Jason Burnett. He was sentenced to death for all three deaths.
Smith selected his last meal on Wednesday, in preparation for his lethal injection. He chose a double bacon cheeseburger, deep-dish apple pie, and vanilla bean ice cream. This meal was provided to Smith at 4:12 p.m. Thursday.
Smith was placed on “death watch” on Monday night and was slated to be executed shortly after 7 p.m. on Thursday. His execution would have marked the return of executions in the state after they were put on hold after a governor-imposed moratorium due to COVID-19.
Opponents of the death penalty have called on Governor Bill Lee to stop Smith’s execution this week. Governor Lee issued this response:
“After thorough consideration of Oscar Smith’s request for clemency and an extensive review of the case, the State of Tennessee’s sentence will stand, and I will not be intervening.”
Former death row prisoners and local church members marched over the weekend, protesting the execution. They’re asking for mercy for Smith.
“It’s just not of god to kill anyone and the state doesn’t have that authority to kill someone any more than anyone else is,” Franklin Community Church Senior Pastor Kevin Riggs said.
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