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Tenn governor calls off execution, citing oversight in plan

Tenn. Death Row inmate Oscar Franklin Smith
Tenn. Death Row inmate Oscar Franklin Smith

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s governor has called off what was to have been the state’s first execution since the start of the pandemic.

Republican Gov. Bill Lee issued a statement Thursday saying he was granting a temporary reprieve to 72-year-old inmate Oscar Smith, Tennessee's oldest death row inmate.

He cited an unspecified “oversight” in preparations for a lethal injection that was to have been given Smith on Thursday evening.

An attorney in the public defender's office says they were notified of mishandling of execution drugs, though no further specifics were provided.

Smith was convicted of the 1989 killings of his estranged wife and her teenage sons. It would have been the first execution since the pandemic began.

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