Death row inmate who killed child rapist executed by electric chair

A death row inmate who stabbed a child rapist to death has been executed by electric chair – despite appeals for clemency by prison guards who say they owe him their life.

Nicholas Todd Sutton, 58, was given a death sentence after being convicted of murdering fellow inmate Carl Estep in 1985.

At the time, Sutton was serving a life sentence for drowning his grandmother when he was 18 and murdering two men in 1979.

Sutton was executed at at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee, after opting for electric chair instead of lethal injection.

He was pronounced dead at 7.26 pm (1.26am GMT), according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

He joined other recent Tennessee death row inmates who believed the execution method wouldn't be as agonising as a lethal cocktail of drugs.

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In a last-ditch effort to save his life, his supporters have sent a clemency petition to Governor Bill Lee.

They include correctional staff at the Riverbend Maximum Security Prison where Sutton had been a maintenance man for 20 years.

He was allowed to carry tools such as hammers and screwdrivers because the guards trust him, said Kevin Sharp, a former judge who is working pro-bono on the clemency petition.

The petition asked the governor to commute Sutton's sentence to life without parole and claims Sutton has saved the lives of at least three prison staff members.

Former guard Tony Eden wrote in an affidavit that Sutton saved his life when he stopped other inmates from taking him hostage during a riot in 1985.

Mr Eden added: "Nick risked his safety and well-being in order to save me from possible death. I owe my life to Nick Sutton.

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"If Nick Sutton was released tomorrow, I would welcome him into my home and invite him to be my neighbor.

"It is my opinion that Nick Sutton, more than anyone else on Tennessee's death row, deserves to live."

In another incident, Sutton rushed to help a former manager who slipped and hit her head on the floor in 1994. He retrieved her keys and used her radio to alert other staff.

In 1979, Sutton is said to have protected a guard who was trying to break up a brawl.

For his last meal ordered fried pork chops, mashed potatoes with gravy and peach pie with vanilla ice cream, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Death row inmates in Tennessee typically have a $20 (£17) limit for their last meal, reports Knox News.

In 1979, Sutton killed his grandmother, Dorothy, by knocking her unconscious and throwing her into a river in Tennessee's Hamblen County.

He was convicted of murder and then confessed to fatally shooting Mr Almon, 46, from Knoxville, and beating to death his high school friend John Large, 19, from Waterville, North Carolina.

Mr Almon's body was dumped in a flooded rock quarry and Mr Large was buried in a shallow grave.

Sutton agreed plea deals and received two more life sentences for killing the men, Knox News.

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