Convicted rapist and killer Sedley Alley was executed this morning by lethal injection, the second inmate to be put to death in Tennessee since 1960, reports The Tennessean. Alley's attorneys will continue to press for DNA testing on crime scene evidence that they believe will show an innocent man was put to death today. Alley, 50, was pronounced dead at 2:12 a.m. He was convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of Suzanne Collins, 19, a young Marine who had been out jogging near Memphis.
The Collins family had sharply criticized the death penalty system in Tennessee, saying it has been “greviously abused,” and that too many years pass before death row inmates are put to death. Alley had received a 15-day reprieve from Gov. Phil Bredesen. The courts did not grant DNA tests, and the execution was rescheduled. “God help the people in this process if the DNA proves he didn't do it,” said Alley's lawyer, Kelley Henry. DNA expert Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project said the state's unwillingness to test the DNA before executing Alley was “deeply disturbing.”