Inmate Stephen West moved to death watch ahead of scheduled execution

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(Photo: Tennessee Department of Correction)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Inmate Stephen West was moved to death watch Tuesday morning shortly after midnight ahead of his scheduled execution Thursday.

Death watch is the three-day period before an execution when strict guidelines are implemented to maintain the security and control of the offender and to maintain safe and orderly operations of the prison, according to the Tennessee Department of Correction.

During this period, the offender is placed in a cell adjacent to the execution chamber where he or she is under 24-hour observation by a team of correctional officers.

MORE: Facing execution, Tennessee inmate says he wasn’t a killer

West asked Gov. Bill Lee to spare his life, saying his accomplice was the one who fatally stabbed a mother and her daughter in 1986.

In a clemency plea, attorneys for Stephen West say his then 17-year-old accomplice, Ronnie Martin, actually killed both victims. West was 23 at the time. Their cases were separated, and while West was sentenced to death, Martin pleaded guilty and received a life sentence with the possibility of parole in 2030 as a juvenile.

West was found guilty of the kidnapping and stabbing deaths of 51-year-old Wanda Romines and her 15-year-old daughter, Sheila Romines, and of raping the teen.

He’s scheduled to receive a lethal injection Aug. 15 at a Nashville prison.

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