Tennessee inmate Stephen West, found guilty of kidnapping and fatally stabbing a woman and her 15-year-old daughter in 1986, was executed on Thursday night, Aug. 15, by way of the electric chair, state officials announced.
The 56-year-old had also been convicted of the teenager’s rape.
The Tennessee Department of Correction pronounced West dead at 7:27 p.m. at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. West’s final meal: a Philly cheesesteak and french fries.
For his last words, West said, “In the beginning, God created man.” He started to choke up and cry, then sobbed, “And Jesus wept. That is all.”
West had denied he was a killer, saying his then-17-year-old accomplice, Ronnie Martin, stabbed 51-year-old Wanda Romines and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila Romines to death. West was 23 at the time.
The juvenile co-defendant received a life sentence, with parole possible in 11 years.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee denied the death row inmate’s clemency application, which said West suffered from severe mental illness and had been taking powerful medication to treat it. Lee made the decision late Tuesday afternoon.
Tennessee has executed four inmates since August 2018. Two died by lethal injection, and two chose to die by the electric chair, saying it would be a quicker and less painful way to die compared with the state’s preference of a three-drug lethal injection.