US appeals court rules against inmate facing execution

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(Photo: Tennessee Department of Correction)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A federal appeals court has ruled against a Tennessee death row inmate’s challenge as he nears his execution date next week.

On Tuesday, a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss Stephen West’s challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol.

West was found guilty of the 1986 kidnapping and stabbing deaths of 51-year-old Wanda Romines and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila Romines, and of raping the teen. He was 23 at the time.

West is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Aug. 15.

The 56-year-old inmate has asked Republican Gov. Bill Lee for clemency to spare his life, claiming his then-17-year-old accomplice killed both women. The accomplice is serving a life sentence with parole possible in 2030.

West’s clemency application also says he suffers from mental illness.

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