The Tennessee Supreme Court has delayed the execution of convicted murderer Stephen Michael West, rescheduling it from Nov. 9 to Nov. 30.
West filed a lawsuit challenging Tennessee’s three-drug legal injection protocol. In the suit, West alleges the method violates prisoners’ constitutional rights because the first drug, sodium thiopental, does not render a prisoner fully unconscious before the final two drugs are administered and thus causes severe pain.
Because evidence has not yet been presented regarding the claim, the Supreme Court has remanded the case to the Davidson County Chancery Court for an immediate hearing to make a decision regarding West’s claim. In the order, the court notes that “decisions involving such profoundly important and sensitive issues . . . are best decided on evidence that has been presented, tested, and weighed in an adversarial hearing.”
In 1987, West was convicted of kidnapping and fatally stabbing Wanda Romines and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila Romines, in Union County. In addition, he was convicted of raping the teenager.