The Tennessee Supreme Court’s message yesterday to murderers condemned to die was simple: It doesn’t have to be pain-free or quick and you don’t get a second shot at life if the first attempt doesn’t do the job, The Tennessean reports. “The intended result of an execution is to render the inmate dead,” wrote Chief Justice Jeffrey Bivins, upholding the state’s latest procedure to execute the condemned via one shot of pentobarbital. The decision puts to rest a long battle, led by the federal defenders for killer Stephen Michael West and nearly three dozen more death row inmates, over the way the men should be put to death.
West, who stabbed and raped a teenage girl in front of her mother and then killed the mother, has been on death row since 1987. The ruling will prompt a new execution date, but attorneys vowed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, so no executions are on the horizon. “Tennessee stands alone in requiring a contract with a pharmacist who must agree to violate state and federal drug laws in order to comply with the protocol,” said defense attorney Kelley Henry.