Execution Date Set for Tennessee Cop Killer
Legal wrangling continues as the execution date looms for Philip Workman. The condemned was convicted in 1981 of murdering a police officer during a restaurant robbery, and his executino date had been shifted several times.
Lawyers for convicted cop killer Philip Workman and Tennessee prosecutors were locked in a federal court battle Monday over Workman's execution, scheduled for early Wednesday.
But as of 5:15 p.m. ET, Workman's execution was to proceed.
State prosecutors appealed and won a reversal of a federal judge's ruling Friday that temporarily meant the execution would be stayed.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell ruled Tennessee's revised execution protocol could result in cruel and unusual punishment, said Workman's lawyer, Kelley Henry.
But the state's victorious appeal Wednesday means Workman is headed to "Death Watch" sometime today, said Riverbend Prison spokeswoman Dorinda Carter.
Death Watch is a period before an execution in which a prisoner is cordoned off in an isolated cell, given his final meal and instructed to leave his possessions to his family or friends.
Wednesday's execution date is Workman's seventh. Workman has gone through the Death Watch process three times since 2000. Each time, courts stepped in to spare his life.
Saying there were "deficiencies" in Tennessee's lethal injection instruction manual, Gov. Phil Bredesen rescinded it in February and gave the state's commissioner of correction 90 days to write a new one.
On April 30, the state issued a new set of lethal injection procedures, but the "cocktail" of lethal drugs remained unchanged.
On one hand, many families of murder victims may not mind if the condemned suffers. Then again, no death, painful or otherwise, will bring back a loved one. Capital punishment is a true hot-button issue, with passionate advocates on both sides of the argument. Ethics temproarily aside, a death row case costs the taxpayer considerably more than even a life sentence.