Death row inmate appeals to U.S. Supreme Court for stay of execution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - Death row inmate Billy Ray Irick is asking the U.S. Supreme court to delay his execution and review the evidence in his murder conviction. 

A new team of attorneys is claiming that Irick was severely mentally ill at the time of his offense. They argue that executing a mentally ill person is cruel and unusual punishment and violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Federal public defender Kelley J. Henry from Nashville is now representing Irick before the U. S.  Supreme Court. 

Irick's motion for a new attorney to argue his case in federal court was approved earlier Tuesday by a federal judge from the U.S. District  Court of Middle Tennessee. 

Billy Rae Irick was convicted of raping and murdering a 7-year-old girl in East Tennessee. 

The outcome of Irick's claim could affect other death row inmates in Tennessee. 

Unless the Supreme Court intervenes to delay his execution, Irick is scheduled to die at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison on Thursday at 7 p.m. 

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