Hamblen County quadruple murderer Nicholas Todd “Nicky” Sutton is scheduled to be executed by electrocution at 8 p.m. today at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville. Gov. Bill Lee indicated Wednesday he will not intervene.
Sutton was sentenced to die for the 1985 knifing of Carl Estep, a Brushy Mountain State Prison inmate with whom Sutton had a marijuana-related dispute, authorities say.
In 1979, Sutton murdered his grandmother, Dorothy Sutton; a high school friend, John Large; and Charles Almon, a Knoxville man from whom Sutton and Large allegedly planned to buy $75,000 worth of cocaine. He was sentenced to life without parole for those three killings.
The trial involving the murder of his grandmother concluded before law enforcement officials learned he had murdered Large and Almon.
Sutton beat his grandmother until she was defenseless. He then wrapped her in blankets and trash bags before weighting her down with concrete block affixed to a chain before tossing her into the Nolichucky River. An autopsy showed she was alive when Sutton threw her into the frigid water.
Sutton beat Large to death, and then forced a tobacco stake through his throat. Large’s body was recovered in a shallow grave in North Carolina. Sutton disposed of Almon’s body in a flooded rock quarry in Cocke County.
The Associated Press reported that in a clemency petition to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Sutton’s supporters said he is not the same man who went to prison 40 years ago.
“I can confidently state that Nick Sutton is the most rehabilitated prisoner that I met working in maximum security prisons over the course of 30 years,” former Correction Lt. Tony Eden stated in an affidavit included with the clemency petition.
But Lee said Wednesday that he would not intervene in the execution.
The AP said Sutton has not indicated why he chose electrocution — an option for inmates whose crimes were committed before the state adopted lethal injection as its preferred execution method — but other inmates have said they thought the electric chair would be quicker and less painful.
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