Tennessee's Supreme Court has refused to stay Thursday's scheduled execution of a convicted child killer while the state's lethal injection protocol continues to be challenged on appeal.
The court's majority wrote Monday that state Supreme Court rules require proving that the lawsuit challenging the new three-drug cocktail is likely to succeed on appeal, but Billy Ray Irick's attorney has failed to do so. Irick is scheduled to die Thursday.
Irick would be the first inmate Tennessee has executed since 2009. He was convicted of the 1985 rape and killing of a 7-year-old Knoxville girl.
Federal public defender Kelley Henry urged Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to issue a temporary stay while the drugs are studied further. She said she will also request a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court.