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'And Jesus Wept. That Is All': Inmate Convicted Of Killing Woman And Her Teen Daughter Sobs Before Execution
Stephen West was convicted of killing Wanda Romines and her 15-year-old daughter Sheila in 1986, but he claimed his teen accomplice actually killed the women and coerced him into raping the girl.
A Tennessee man convicted of killing a woman and her teenage daughter cried and quoted the Bible before he was executed by electric chair.
For his last words, Stephen West, 56, recited, “In the beginning, God created man,” the Nashville Scene reports.
Then he began sobbing.
“And Jesus wept. That is all.’
The execution took place Thursday evening at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.
West was convicted of the 1986 murders of Wanda Romines, 51, and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila, near Knoxville. West was also convicted of raping the teen. Both mother and daughter were fatally stabbed.
West’s attorneys claimed that their client struggles with mental health issues. They said that before the murders a 17-year-old named Ronnie Martin was rejected by Sheila Romines and that he coerced West, who was 23 at the time, to rape Sheila. West’s attorneys claim that because West was tried before Martin, West’s jury never heard a tape recording of Martin’s murder confession. Martin pleaded guilty to two counts murder and is currently serving a life sentence.
West had petitioned for clemency, which was denied. Two jurors from West's trial said they supported clemency, the Nashville Scene reports.
Gov. Bill Lee announced Wednesday he wouldn’t stop the execution.
“After thorough consideration of Stephen West’s request for clemency and a review of the case, the State of Tennessee’s sentence will stand, and I will not be intervening,” he said.
West decided himself that he wanted the electric chair instead of lethal injection.
For his last meal, he chose a Philly cheesesteak and French fries, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.
Union County Sheriff Billy Breeding told reporters after the execution he was "proud to say that justice was carried out," according to WZTV in Nashville.
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Dorinda Carter read a statement by Eddie Campbell, who was related to Wanda through marriage.
"I hope that he has made peace with God and has truly asked God for forgiveness for such a heinous crime that he was a part of," the statement said, according to UPI.
West’s death marks the state's third electric chair execution since November.