State uses electric chair for first time since 1960 forums

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Jan 3, 2006
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  • Story Highlights
  • Daryl Holton, 45, executed early Wednesday in Tennessee
  • He chose the electric chair over lethal injection
  • Gulf War vet confessed to killing four kids with assault rifle
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- A man convicted of murdering four children with an assault rifle was executed Wednesday, becoming the first Tennessee inmate put to death by electrocution since 1960.
Daryl Holton, 45, had confessed to shooting his three young sons and their half-sister in 1997 in the town of Shelbyville, about 50 miles south of Nashville.

Holton told police he killed the children because his ex-wife had refused to let him see them. He said he intended to kill her and himself, but instead turned himself in.

As the hours ticked away Tuesday night, a group of attorneys petitioned the state Supreme Court to stop the electrocution, saying the execution method was cruel and unusual punishment. But the court rejected the petition.

Holton chose the electric chair over the state's preferred execution method, lethal injection. Under Tennessee law, death row inmates can choose between the electric chair and lethal injection if their crimes were committed before 1999.

Holton, a Gulf War veteran, confessed to the 1997 killings, saying he lined up the children at his uncle's auto repair garage and shot them.

Holton, 45, came within a day of being executed a year ago before getting a stay from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal. He was also among four death row inmates whose executions were postponed in February, when Gov. Phil Bredesen placed a 90-day moratorium on the death penalty.

Bredesen had cited a number of problems with the state's execution guidelines, including a jumble of conflicting instructions that mixed lethal injection instructions with those for the electric chair.

The Correction Department completed the revision of its procedures in March, the moratorium was allowed to expire and the four executions were rescheduled.

Holton made no special requests for his last meal, said state Department of Correction spokeswoman Dorinda Carter.

His lawyers have said he has a long history of mental illness and may have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his Army service.

Nine states allow some or all condemned inmates to choose between lethal injection and another execution method, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group that opposes the death penalty. Ten states have the electric chair, but only Nebraska uses it exclusively.

The last Tennessee inmate to die by electric chair was convicted rapist William Tines, who was executed November 7, 1960.

Virginia inmate Brandon Hedrick was the last person executed by electric chair in the U.S., on July 20, 2006, according to the center.


Personally, I think the best way to put someone to death would be to put them to death exactly how they killed their victim(s).

I don't believe in the death penalty, for the simple opinion that this is an *easy* way out and in this country, I am not convinced that it is applied equally in the judicious sense. I know it can be spendy to keep them in jail for life, but sometimes God's 'good humor' is better than any one of us can come up with for punishment.

Personally, I think the best way to put someone to death would be to put them to death exactly how they killed their victim(s). I agree!!

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