"I'm really sorry": Man who murdered seven-year-old girl he was babysitting in 1985, dies by lethal injection
The family of the seven-year-old victim wants people to remember the chilling details of her death and know why Billy Ray Irick was executed
On Thursday, Billy Ray Irick spoke his last words before he was executed in a Tennessee state prison. "I just want to say I'm really sorry," he said.
At first, Irick signaled he would have no last words, but then he uttered a brief statement to witnesses who were attending Tennessee’s first execution in nearly a decade. The blinds between a witness room and the execution chamber were opened at 7.26 p.m. Thursday, reported journalists who were present in the room. A minute before the lethal injection began flowing in Irick's veins, the executioner asked him if he had anything to say.
Irick was sentenced to death after being convicted of the rape and murder of Paula Dyer, a seven-year-old girl he was babysitting in 1985.
While at first he appeared to sigh and say "no", he later said, "I just want to say I’m really sorry and that’s it."
Sixty seconds later, sounds of heavy breathing were heard and witnesses saw his eyes close in a grim event.
The executioner then checked on the inmate, yelling "Billy" and grabbing his shoulder. But there was no response. He was gone.
Authorities noted the time of death at 7.48 p.m.
On Thursday afternoon, denying Irick's request for a stay, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the green signal for the execution, reported Daily Mail.
Although it is highly uncommon that the Supreme Court stays executions, federal public defender Kelley Henry requested to delay his client's death.
Gov. Bill Haslam received a request for temporary reprieve from the attorney so that the drugs could be studied a bit further. However, the governor said he will not intervene and ruled it out.
"My role is not to be the 13th juror or the judge or to impose my personal views, but to carefully review the judicial process to make sure it was full and fair," Henry said.
"Because of the extremely thorough judicial review of all of the evidence and arguments at every stage, in this case, clemency is not appropriate."
"Today's decision means that Mr. Irick faces a scheduled execution date before the courts have had a chance to thoughtfully consider the challenge to the new lethal injection protocol," Henry said in a statement on Monday.
That said, Justice Sharon Lee voiced her dissent on the decision, saying she "will not join in the rush to execute Mr. Irick and would instead grant him a stay to prevent ending his life before his appeal can be adjudicated."
But Kathy Jeffers, Paula's mother, said she has no sympathy for her child's murderer.
"What he did to her is the reason he's where he is," she told WBIR-TV. "I am sick of hearing about his pain and his suffering. What about her pain and her suffering? She was seven years old, raped, sodomized, and strangled to death. I'm sorry, I feel nothing for his pain. Nothing at all. God, forgive me, but I don't."