A blind prisoner sentenced to murdering his estranged girlfriend by placing her on fire in her vehicle was put to end Thursday, December 5 in Tennessee's electric chair, becoming only the 2nd convict without sight to be executed in the United States considering the reinstatement of the country's death penalty in 1976.
Leroy "Lee" Hall, 53, was killed by two huge jolts of electricity at the Tennessee Department of Corrections in Nashville Thursday night. I ask for your forgiveness and I hope and pray that someday you can find it in your heart to forgive me. That is all I basically have to negate'.
Each witness described the events of the execution minute by minute - majority similar - however, a couple of the witnesses said they saw smoke or steam coming from Hall's head, which is not a usual thing to see during this type of execution. 'I ask for your forgiveness.
He chose the electric chair over Tennessee's preferred execution method of lethal injection.
He also changed into the first blind inmate in US up to the moment history to die by electrocution.
Hall had his sight when he entered death row almost three decades ago, but attorneys for the condemned prisoner say he's since become functionally blind due to improperly treated glaucoma.
Tennessee is set to carry out what is expected to be only the second execution of a blind prisoner in the United States since the nation reinstated the death penalty in 1976.
When asked whether he wants to have the last word, Hall first asked for a glass of water, but he refused and again asked him if he wanted to say something. For his last meal, Hall selected a Philly cheesesteak, onion rings and a slice of cheesecake.
Court documents state that Hall killed 22-year-old Traci Crozier on April 17, 1991 by setting her auto ablaze with a container of gasoline that he lit and tossed in her vehicle while she was inside and trying to leave him.
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Traci suffered horrific burns across 90% of her body - described by doctors as the worst injuries they'd ever seen - and died in hospital the day after the attack.
A neighbor saw "a ball of fire" within the center of the highway and called for emergency assistance as her son helped pull Crozier out of the torched automobile. Now our family's peace can begin but another family's hell has to begin.
Crozier's sister, Staci Wooten, and her father, Gene Crozier, have said they intend to watch Hall's execution Thursday. But hopefully today an end to this monster's life will bring some peace within everyone who has had to suffer over these 28 years without my attractive sister.
WTVF spoke to defense attorney Kelly Henry after the press conference who said the smoke was likely a sign of burning flesh or burning sponge and is not supposed to happen during the execution.
Hall's legal team had attempted to delay his execution, arguing his case should be retried as one of the jurors during his 1992 trial was biased against him.
"The justice system has extensively reviewed Lee Hall's case over the course of nearly 30 years, including additional review and rulings by the Tennessee Supreme Court yesterday and today", the Republican governor said in a statement Wednesday.
In 2014, Tennessee became the first state to make use of the electric chair mandatory when lethal injection drugs were unavailable. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene.
While state courts in Nebraska and Georgia have announced the electrical chair unconstitutional.
The High Court also has no upper age limit for executions nor created exception for physical disabilities. Four out of six inmates recently incarcerated in Tennessee have chosen this chair since the resumption of executions by the state in August 2018.