Lawyers for a quadruple murderer scheduled to be put to death Thursday asked the US Supreme Court for a stay of execution.
Nicholas Sutton, 58, imprisoned in Tennessee, was found guilty in the death of a fellow inmate in 1985. This latter man, who had been convicted of sexual abusing a minor, was stabbed 38 times.
At that time, Sutton was serving a life sentence for killing his grandmother, who had raised him, in 1979 when he was 18 years of age.
Sutton later led police to the bodies of two other people whom he confessed to killing.
Sutton's lawyers in January asked the state's Republican governor, Bill Lee, to grant clemency, citing expressions of support for Sutton from prison officials.
The request stressed that Sutton had intervened several times to protect prison guards and fellow inmates from violence. In particular he was said to have saved the life of a guard during a prison riot in 1985.
In that petition, defenders of Sutton said he had been a model prisoner for more than 30 years and noted that even some in the families of his victims opposed his being executed. They included the daughter of the inmate he killed.
But Lee turned down the request.
Sutton's lawyers then filed a last ditch appeal with the US Supreme Court, noting among other things that during his trial the man had been handcuffed and saying this made him look guilty to the jury.
If the high court says no, Sutton is slated to die in the electric chair.
For his last meal he has asked for pork chops with mashed potatoes, and peach pie a la mode for dessert, prison officials said Wednesday.
Tennessee suspended executions in 2009 because of a controversy over lethal injections but reinstated them in 2018. Sutton would be the seventh person executed since then and the fifth to choose the electric chair as their way to die.
Sutton's would be the fourth execution this year in the United States.