Skip to comments.1 of 2 executions set for same day stayed by federal judge
Posted on 06/27/2006 12:31:11 PM PDT by SmithL
NASHVILLE Just hours before Tennessee was set to execute two inmates, a federal judge issued a stay of execution for one of the convicted murderers.
Judge Todd Campbell halted the Wednesday execution of Paul Dennis Reid and ordered a hearing on whether the inmate is mentally competent to stop appealing his seven death sentences for a string of 1997 murders.
In the past 45 years, Tennessee has executed one inmate. Campbell's order Tuesday put a stop at least temporarily to the state's preparations to administer lethal injection to two condemned murderers on the same day.
Reid, who doctors have testified is brain damaged and mentally ill, had dropped his appeals earlier this year, and the state Supreme Court rejected efforts by his defense team and his sister to continue fighting his execution without his cooperation.
Reid was in a similar situation in 2003 and came within hours of execution before he was talked into resuming his appeals and got a stay.
After a hearing Tuesday on a motion from Reid's lawyers and his sister, Campbell issued the stay. The state was preparing to appeal it, the spokeswoman for the attorney general said.
Reid and Sedley Alley, convicted of the 1985 rape and murder of a Marine who was out for a jog, had both been on death watch at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.
Although Alley has exhausted his chances to appeal his conviction and sentence, his defense team continued fighting his execution Tuesday with petitions challenging the state's method of lethal injection and seeking DNA testing on evidence from his case.
The Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected issuing a stay, but Alley still had petitions before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Alley failed to convince the state high court that he was wrongly denied DNA testing on crime scene evidence that he contends could prove someone else committed the murder.
Alley, 50, confessed to accosting 19-year-old Marine Suzanne Collins while she jogged near a Navy base north of Memphis. She was raped and killed with a sharpened tree limb.
At trial Alley claimed to have multiple personalities but since 2004 he has recanted his confession, argued he is innocent and said DNA testing could prove it.
Alley was scheduled to die on May 17 but got a reprieve from Gov. Phil Bredesen to seek court permission for the DNA testing. But his defense team, led by Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project, has been unable to persuade a court to order the evidence released. The crime occurred before DNA testing was common in criminal investigations.
Reid, 48, a former Texas drifter with music ambitions, was convicted of murdering seven people at three Tennessee restaurants in 1997 after he was fired from his job as a dishwasher at Shoney's.
Sarah Jackson, 16, and Steve Hampton, 25, were slain execution-style at a Captain D's not far from where Reid worked. The next month Ronald Santiago, 27, Robert A. Sewell Jr., 23, and Andrea Brown, 17, were killed in a midnight robbery at a McDonald's a few miles from the Captain D's.
Angela Holmes, 21, and Michelle Mace, 16, who were kidnapped in an April 1997 robbery at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store in Clarksville, about 50 miles northwest of Nashville. Their throats were slashed and their bodies were dumped at Dunbar Cave State Natural Area.
Reid has told reporters and his legal team that he is being controlled, monitored and tormented by a military government. His lawyers say he has quit cooperating with them because he thinks they are part of the effort to harm him.
The last Tennessee inmate executed was convicted child rapist and murderer Robert Glenn Coe, put to death by lethal injection in 2000. Before that, the last execution was by electric chair in 1960.
They should prep them both then tell one of them at the end ---PSYCH!
Hey, he only killed SEVEN PEOPLE! Let him go!
Mental condition should have been decided during his trial not the day of execution.A jury should decide not a judge!
Too bad. I had visions of them using an "electric love seat".
I was sure someone in the State could find a two-seater.
If he can kill 7 people he can die for it. Competent or not.
I can only guess what his stance is on abortion ....
Now, now - just wait a damn minute. Oh, yea, now only stupid killers get off - the smarter ones get executed. That's outrageous - it discriminates against the mo smart killer - dear, Lord, when will it stop?
Too bad this idiot judge is allowing another filthy poacher of human life to continue sucking air on this planet.