Blind man executed by electric chair in Tennessee for woman's 1991 killing

06 Décembre, 2019, 08:48 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Lee Hall

Lee Hall, 53, was pronounced dead at 7:26 p.m.at a Nashville maximum-security prison, prison officials said.

Lee Hall, who was previously known as Leroy Hall, chose to be executed by electrocution rather than lethal injection, a choice that Tennessee has offered to those condemned to death before 1999. He asked for water so he could speak but was told there wasn't any.

"People can learn forgiveness and love and will make this world a better place", Hall said, wearing a white T-shirt and rolled-up white trousers.

Hall was convicted of killing his estranged girlfriend Traci Crozier in 1991 in Chattanooga by setting her auto on fire while she was still inside. Hall had his sight when he entered death row almost three decades ago, but his attorneys say he later become functionally blind from improperly treated glaucoma. Tennessee reinstated use of the electric chair in 2014, to be used if chosen by the inmate or if lethal injection drugs were not available.

To date, the U.S. Supreme Court has neither set an upper age limit for executions nor created an exception for a physical infirmity.

"Unless the federal courts intervene, Tennessee will become the first state in modern United States history to electrocute a blind man", Hall's attorney Kelly Gleason said in a statement. "It is a sad day for justice in the state of Tennessee".

According to court documents, Hall doused Crozier with gasoline and set her on fire inside her Nissan Pulsar on the night of April 16, 1991, following an argument outside her grandmother's home. The container exploded and Crozier suffered burns across more than 90 percent of her body, dying the next day in the hospital.

"Now our family's peace can begin, but another family's hell has to begin", she said.

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The request centered around possible bias of a juror who helped hand down the original death sentence in the 90s.

Lee and the state courts declined to intervene, arguing that Hall had exhausted his legal options.

"The justice system has extensively reviewed Lee Hall's case over the course of nearly 30 years, including additional review and rulings by the Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday and today", Lee said in a statement.

Death row inmates typically get US$20 toward a special meal before they are executed according to The Tennessean. Clarence Ray Allen, 76, died via lethal injection in 2006 in California.

Hall's team has filed several legal filings in federal court on Wednesday in a last effort to block the execution.

Bill Lee announced Wednesday that he won't stop the state from putting a blind inmate to death in the electric chair later this week, clearing the way for the execution unless a federal court intervenes.

But in recent years, as manufacturers began withholding sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, some states, including Tennessee, have turned to midazolam as an alternative.

Courts in Georgia and Nebraska have declared the electric chair unconstitutional and the U.S. Supreme Court has never fully considered its constitutionality.

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