Tennessee inmate's execution put on hold due to COVID-19

Friday, December 4, 2020, Vol. 44, No. 49

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court on Thursday indefinitely postponed the execution of death row inmate Byron Black.

In a brief order issued on Thursday, the court wrote that Black's execution is stayed pending a further order by the court "because of the multiple issues caused by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic."

Black was convicted by a Nashville court of murdering his girlfriend Angela Clay and her daughters Latoya, 9, and Lakesha, 6, at their home in 1988. Prosecutors said he shot the three during a jealous rage. Black was on work release at the time for shooting and wounding Clay's estranged husband.

Black was originally scheduled for execution on Oct. 8, and the court had previously ordered a postponement until April 8, 2021.

Three other Tennessee inmates have also had their executions put on hold because of the virus.

Gov. Bill Lee last month granted a a reprieve from execution to Pervis Payne from Dec. 3 until April 9 "due to the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic." Lee granted another reprieve in July to Harold Nichols, and the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an earlier reprieve to Oscar Smith.