Nicky Sutton was pronounced dead at 7:27 p.m. several minutes after the first jolt of electricity coursed through his body.
Shorn of his hair, mustache and beard, which gave him a menacing appearance, Sutton appeared resolute and significantly older than his 58 years.
Sutton, who was dressed in an off-white short sleeve shirt and shorts, thanked his wife and friends who supported him after his death sentence in 1985.
“Don’t ever give up on the power of Jesus Christ,” Sutton said during a lengthy final statement.
Sutton, who reportedly converted to Christianity while in prison, also thanked Jesus Christ.
“I'm just grateful to be a servant of God, and I'm looking forward to being in his presence,” Sutton said.
Dorinda Carter, spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Corrections, read a statement by Amy Large Cook, sister of Morristown’s John Large, one of Sutton’s four victims.
Cook was not allowed to witness the execution because Sutton was not sentenced to death for her brother’s killing. Sutton was jailed after killing his own grandmother at the age of 18. Prior to that he had killed Large and another man, Charles Almon.
While in prison at Brushy Mountain in 1985, Sutton killed a fellow inmate. It was for that murder that Sutton was sentenced to death and only family members of that final victim, Carl Estep, a convicted child molester, were legally allowed to attend. None of Estep’s family members were in attendance.
In her statement, Cook said she will never forgive Sutton.
According to the Associated Press, Sutton's supporters, including several family members of some of his victims and prison workers, had recently asked Gov. Bill Lee to commute the sentence, saying Sutton had rehabilitated himself in prison and was not the same man who first entered prison 40 years ago.
But Lee said Wednesday that he would not intervene in the execution. And two last-ditch appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court were denied Thursday evening. The justices, in an emailed statement, gave no explanation for their decision.
Sutton was the state's fifth prisoner over 16 months to choose electrocution over the state's preferred method of lethal injection.
See Friday’s edition of the Citizen Tribune for more.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.