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The Latest: Tennessee governor won’t halt inmate’s execution

August 13, 2019
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This booking photo released by the Tennessee Department of Corrections shows Stephen West. The Tennessee death row inmate is asking Gov. Bill Lee to spare his life, maintaining that he didn’t actually kill a mother or her daughter three decades ago. West’s clemency application says his co-defendant, then-17-year-old Ronnie Martin, stabbed both people to death. His execution is slated for Aug. 15. Martin is serving a life sentence and is eligible for parole in 2030. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP)
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This booking photo released by the Tennessee Department of Corrections shows Stephen West. The Tennessee death row inmate is asking Gov. Bill Lee to spare his life, maintaining that he didn’t actually kill a mother or her daughter three decades ago. West’s clemency application says his co-defendant, then-17-year-old Ronnie Martin, stabbed both people to death. His execution is slated for Aug. 15. Martin is serving a life sentence and is eligible for parole in 2030. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the upcoming execution of a Tennessee inmate (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee won’t stop Thursday’s execution of an inmate who says his accomplice was the one who fatally stabbed a mother and daughter in 1986.

Lee said in a statement Tuesday he won’t intervene after reviewing 56-year-old Stephen West’s case.

West was convicted of the kidnapping and stabbing deaths of 51-year-old Wanda Romines and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila Romines, and of raping the teen.

In a clemency plea, West said his then 17-year-old accomplice, Ronnie Martin, actually killed both victims. West was 23 at the time. Their cases were separated, and West was sentenced to death. Martin pleaded guilty as a juvenile and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 2030.

The clemency plea says West has been taking powerful medication to treat mental illness in prison.

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10 a.m.

Tennessee inmate Stephen West is on death watch in anticipation of his lethal injection Thursday.

State corrections officials said Tuesday that inmates on death watch are placed in a cell next to the execution chamber where they’re under 24-hour surveillance.

Visits are non-contact until the day before the execution, when the warden will decide whether the 56-year-old West can have a contact visit.

West was convicted of the 1986 kidnapping and stabbing deaths of a mother and her 15-year-old daughter, and of raping the teen. West has denied he’s a killer, saying his then-17-year-old accomplice killed both. The co-defendant received a life sentence, with parole possible in 2030.

Gov. Bill Lee hasn’t decided on clemency. He told reporters Monday he trusts the criminal justice process that made a determination years ago in West’s case.

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