TN Supreme Court schedules two executions

Tennessee has moved death row inmate Billy Ray Irick to the front of the line to be executed in Tennessee, reports The Tennessean.

The Tennessee Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered Irick to be executed by lethal injection on Jan. 15, putting him ahead of death row inmate Nickolus Johnson, who is scheduled to die April 22. Johnson, who killed Bristol Police Officer Mark Vance in 2004, was the first person scheduled to die in Tennessee in more than a year and a half.

Irick raped and killed a 7-year-old Knoxville girl he had been baby-sitting in 1985.

The two execution dates come after Tennessee correction officials finally decided on a new drug to use in lethal injections, after a key drug the state used to use became unavailable. The new protocol switches from a three-drug cocktail to just one: pentobarbital, an anesthetic used in animal euthanasia.