Tennessee Death Row Inmate; Nicholas Todd Sutton Is Executed By Electric Chair For Killing 3 Persons & A Rapist Inmate

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Nicholas Todd Sutton; who was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a fellow inmate, the child rapist Carl Estep, in 1985, has been put to death in Tennessee’s electric chair on Thursday, February 20, 2020. He becomes the fifth prisoner over 16 months to choose electrocution over the state’s preferred method of lethal injection.

Three hours before his execution on Thursday evening, Sutton was served his last meal. He ordered fried pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy and peach pie with vanilla ice cream, the Tennessee Department of Correction said. Death row inmates typically have a $20 limit for their last meal.

Nicholas Sutton, 58, was pronounced dead at 7:26 p.m. at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, the Tennessee Department of Correction said.

Sutton who got married to his wife Reba in 1994 while in prison, gave a statement after he was strapped into the chair, thanking his wife, family, and friends for supporting him and saying Jesus Christ “fixed me.”

“I’m just grateful to be a servant of God, and I’m looking forward to being in his presence,” Sutton said as witnesses looked on.

”I have had the privilege of being married to the finest woman, who is a great servant to God,’ he continued.

‘Without her, I would not have made the progress that I have made. I hope I do a much better job in the next life than I did in this one.

Sutton was sentenced to death in 1986 for killing fellow inmate Carl Estep in a conflict over a drug deal while both were incarcerated in an East Tennessee prison, where he had been serving time for his grandmother Dorothy Sutton, his high school friends John Large and Charles Almon – in 1979 when he was 18 years old.

As prison guards were on a shift change on January 15, Sutton and Thomas Street entered Estep’s cell and stabbed him 38 times in the chest and neck with two homemade knives, prosecutors said.
One of the inmates also said Estep was a marijuana dealer at the facility who had sold the men ‘bad merchandise’ and refused to refund their money. He testified that after the men took Estep´s watch, Estep threatened to kill Sutton.

In 1986, a Morgan County Criminal Court jury convicted Sutton of first-degree murder and sentenced him to death. Street was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. A third man who was accused of taking part in the attack was acquitted.

Despite his history, Sutton is allowed to handle tools such as hammers and screwdrivers on a daily basis inside the prison because the guards “completely trust” him, according to Kevin Sharp, a former federal judge who is working pro-bono on Sutton’s petition for clemency.

“They have a really tough job and they need inmates who help make the place safer, not more dangerous,” he told Newsweek. By giving him the maintenance job “they’re really trusting him with their lives,” Sharp said.

Estep’s oldest daughter has said Sutton did her family a favor when he killed her father, who she describes as an ‘evil man’.

Rosemary Hall said that her father, who was jailed for raping her stepsister when he died, set their house on fire and deliberately caused a traffic accident that killed her baby sister.

She described his death as a blessing. ‘To say that was the best day of my life is an understatement,’ she said in a statement that was included in Sutton´s clemency petition.

‘I felt as though a 100-pound weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I thought to myself, ‘There is a God!”

Sutton’s supporters, including several family members of his victims and prison workers, had asked Governor Bill Lee to commute his sentence, saying Sutton had rehabilitated himself in prison and was not the same man who first entered prison 40 years ago. But Lee declined their plea and said he would not intervene in the execution.

Anti-death penalty activist Dan Mann said he and another activist had intercepted the governor on the way to work Tuesday and prayed with him. “He asked us to pray for him because it was such a difficult decision,” Mann said.

According to The Associated Press, appeals made to the U.S. Supreme Court were also denied on Thursday evening. The justices, in an emailed statement, gave no explanation for their decision not to step in.

Sutton would be the first inmate ever to die in Tennessee for killing another inmate. May his soul find eternal rest.

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