Billy Ray Irick, the first man executed in Tennessee in nearly a decade, said that he is “really sorry” for the 1985 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl.
“The death sentence of Billy Ray Irick was executed by means of lethal injection on August 9, 2018 in accordance with the laws of the state of Tennessee. The sentence was carried out at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Irick was pronounced dead at 7:48 p.m.,” the Tennessee Department of Corrections said in a statement, confirming that the execution went through.
Irick was asked if he had any final words before the lethal injection drugs began working, CBS News reported. He was convicted decades ago for the rape and murder of Paula Dyer, a 7-year-old he was babysitting.
“I just want to say I’m really sorry and that, that’s it,” Irick said, according to the report.
Hours before his death, the U.S. Supreme Court denied his request to a stay of execution. The governor and Tennessee Supreme Court had previously denied his request.
Lt. Governor Randy McNally issued a statement on the execution.
“The individual who raped and murdered seven-year-old Paula Dyer over 30 years ago is now deceased. While capital punishment is an act of the state no one relishes, it is the most appropriate punishment available to us for crimes such as these. I hope some comfort can now come to the family of Paula Dyer. Justice, long delayed, has now been served,” McNally said, according to NewsChannel5.
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III also said, “Justice was delayed too long for this little girl and her family. I hope tonight’s lawful execution in some way eases the heartache Paula’s family has lived with and brings a degree of closure to a chapter of their lives that has been indescribably difficult.”