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Tennessee governor says he won't stop planned execution
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) said he would not stay the sentencing of Lee Hall, a blind death row inmate who's scheduled to be put to death in the electric chair Thursday.
"The justice system has extensively reviewed Lee Hall's case over the course of almost 30 years, including additional review and rulings by the Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday and today," Lee said in a statement Wednesday. "The judgment and sentence stand based on these rulings, and I will not intervene in this case."
Hall, 53, has been on death row for nearly three decades after being convicted of the murder of his estranged girlfriend in 1991, the Associated Press reports. While on death row, Hall became functionally blind due to mistreated glaucoma, his lawyers say.
Tennessee is one of just six states in the country where an inmate can choose between the electric chair or lethal injection. Earlier in the year, Hall chose the former.
If not stopped, Hall will become only the second blind inmate to be put to death since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
"Unless the federal courts intervene, Tennessee will become the first state in modern United States history to electrocute a blind man," Kelly Gleason, Hall's counsel, said in a statement. "It is a sad day for justice in the state of Tennessee."
Hall's legal team has been trying to get his execution delayed for weeks, but earlier this week, the Tennessee Supreme Court denied the defense's request.