Gov. Bill Lee denies clemency for inmate scheduled to be executed Thursday


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL)- In a statement late Tuesday evening, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee said he would not be intervening in an execution scheduled for later this week. 

68-year-old Don Johnson was sentenced to death for the 1984 murder of his wife, Connie Johnson.

Johnson has been moved to death watch ahead of his scheduled Thursday execution. 

Governor Lee issued the following statement on Tuesday:

“After a prayerful and deliberate consideration of Don Johnson‘s request for clemency, and after a thorough review of the case, I am upholding the sentence of the State of Tennessee and will not be intervening.”

We have also received a statement of lead clemency counsel Rev. Charles Fels, on behalf of the Don Johnson clemency team.

You can read their full statement below:

“Don Johnson has shown he is a person who is deserving of mercy. Although we appreciate Governor Lee and his staff for carefully considering our application for clemency for Don, we, along with thousands of Christians in Tennessee and around the world, are deeply saddened by today’s decision. Also disappointed are thousands of citizens who had hoped that Governor Lee would use his unique constitutional clemency power to consider matters that no court could, including moral transformation, forgiveness, and the entire positive arc of Don’s life after 1984. 

We respect the Governor’s decision, and Don accepts it as God’s will.

Don is at peace and accepts the call to a new life in Christ. He prays for the Governor, the Warden and his staff, Connie, Cynthia and Jason and for all those who he has injured in the past. Don gives thanks to the many Christian friends who have supported him for many decades. He gives particular thanks to the pastors and people of Riverside Chapel Seventh-day Adventist Church who ordained, supported and loved him in his journey, and to the Dysinger family who have been with him in song and in prayer for the past 15 years.  Don’s faith is strong, and he knows where his journey leads.”

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