Source AP ©

Tennessee inmate appeals for execution delay

A Tennessee death row inmate was to die next Wednesday under the state's new guidelines for executions, but his attorneys on Tuesday asked a federal appeals court to stay his killing.

The state on Monday released newly revised rules on its execution procedures, and a three-month break from state executions to allow those changes ends this week.

Convicted killer Philip Workman would be the first person killed under the new guidelines, and his defense team is reviewing the new rules to decide whether they should be challenged in court, said Kelley Henry, his federal public defender.

Workman was convicted for the 1981 shooting death of a police officer. Workman, 53, has two appeals pending before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His lawyers requested the stay of execution claiming he was convicted on perjured testimony and that the state withheld evidence that would have established Workman's innocence, Henry said.

Sharon Curtis-Flair, a spokeswoman for the state attorney general's office, said the office was reviewing the request for a stay "and will respond in due course."

In February, Governor Phil Bredesen issued a moratorium on executions until May 2 to rework the state's outdated and ambiguous procedures for lethal injection.

An Associated Press review found the state's most recent procedure manual for executing prisoners had conflicting instructions that mixed lethal injection instructions with those for the old electric chair.

In March, the Tennessee Supreme Court rejected a motion from Workman seeking to stop his lethal injection, set for one week after the governor's moratorium was due to expire.

The state argued that Workman's execution would still be constitutionally appropriate under the new lethal injection procedures.

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