‘I just want to say I’m really sorry’ – those were the last words spoken by Billy Ray Irick before he was put to death in a Tennessee state prison on Thursday.
Witnesses to Tennessee’s first execution in nearly a decade say Irick at first signaled he would have no last words, but then gave a brief statement to those watching.
Journalists present reported that the blinds between a witness room and the execution chamber were opened at 7.26 p.m. Thursday, and about a minute later, Irick was asked if he had any words before the lethal injection drugs began flowing.
Irick was convicted in the 1985 rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl he was babysitting.
Irick was first set to be executed on May 4, 1987.
He was allowed to live for another 33 years after killing Paula Dyer. She would have been 40 years old. Her kids might have been in High School or college.
I do agree with the death penalty as the ultimate punishment for the most heinous crimes, but justice deferred for 30+ years is no justice at all. I see no reason at all why cases like this can’t be put at the top of the docket and let all of the appeals take their course in a matter of weeks – maybe months. Decades is unacceptable.