Blind Tennessee Inmate Executed via Electric Chair for 1991 Slaying

December 6, 2019 Updated: December 6, 2019

A 53-year-old blind death row inmate was put to death over the 1991 slaying of his estranged girlfriend on Thursday evening at a Nashville, Tennessee maximum security prison, it was reported.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that Lee Hall was pronounced dead at around 7:30 p.m. Officials said he was executed via the electric chair.

Hall is the second blind inmate to be put to death in the United States since it was reinstated in 1976.

“People can learn forgiveness and love and will make this world a better place,” Hall said in his last statement, The Associated Press reported.

The inmate chose the electric chair over lethal injection, which is an option afforded to death row inmates who were convicted before 1999.

AP reported that he was strapped into the electric chair before curtains were raised so that witnesses—including family—could get a look.

Later, he received two jolts of electricity while in the chair and was pronounced dead.

Before his execution, Hall ordered a Philly cheesesteak, onion rings, cheesecake, and a Pepsi, The Tennessean newspaper reported.

Court documents said Hall killed 22-year-old Traci Crozier in April 1991 by setting her car on fire with a container of gasoline. She was inside the car and was attempting to leave him.

The gasoline container exploded, ultimately killing Crozier, AP reported.

“Hopefully today ending this monster’s life will bring some peace within everyone who has had to suffer throughout these 28 years without my beautiful sister,” sister Staci Wooten told AP. She watched the execution with Crozier’s father, Gene Crozier.

Kelly Gleason, Hall’s attorney, had asked federal courts to place a stay on Hall’s execution. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.

“We are devastated by the loss of Traci and now Lee,” Hall’s family said in a statement. “Lee loved Traci more than anything and we welcomed her into our family and love her too. We also love Lee and wish that we could have changed the events of that tragic day.”

Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee declined to grant a stay and issued a statement about the matter.

“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 on Wednesday. “The judgment and sentence stand based on these rulings, and I will not intervene in this case.”

Tennessee is one of six states where death row inmates can choose the electric chair. Three out of five recent inmates have died via the chair since last year, AP noted.