Inmate’s scheduled execution to be first in nearly a decade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee is set to execute a man for the 1985 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl, in what would be the first time the state has applied the death penalty since 2009.

59-year-old inmate Billy Ray Irick is scheduled to receive a three-drug injection Thursday evening. He was convicted in the death of the Knoxville girl he was babysitting when she was slain.

The execution, if carried out, would occur a week after Pope Francis revealed new church teaching that deems the death penalty “inadmissible” under all circumstances.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court denied a stay of Irick’s execution, saying the inmates’ lawsuit wasn’t likely to succeed.

Gov. Bill Haslam also declined to intervene.