NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – From their earliest days together, Lisette Monroe and her sister, Karen Pulley, cherished their relationship.
“We were close, growing up we had been through the normal sister, sibling stuff,” Monroe said.
But their bond would be broken.
“It’s been hard, I miss her terribly.”
Pulley was murdered in the childhood bedroom they shared.
“I miss being able to say I can call my sister this weekend, and we can go grab coffee,” Monroe said.
Late September 1988, Harold Nichols raped and murdered the 20-year-old, hitting her in the head, several times, with a wooden board.
Pulley’s family describes her as a gentle spirit, involved with church, working, and going to school. Her life was taken from her, violently.
“I would like you to look at the murder scene photos and then call me and tell me you’re going to give him a pardon because you can’t. You just can’t,” said Monroe.
Monroe lives in Portland, Oregon. She left Chattanooga to start over, but has these words for Governor Bill Lee, who in July, granted Nichols a temporary reprieve from his August execution date, “Due to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Don’t you understand that my grieving doesn’t stop for COVID, my re-traumatization doesn’t stop. We need to get this done.”
Monroe has long said, with each anniversary, memory and image of her sister, and her murder, the emotion, the freshness of the pain returns, more so as Nichols’ death sentence is delayed.
“It’s like reliving the actual event, over and over, and over,” she said.
Nichols was a serial rapist. He took the stand at his murder trial in 1990. According to transcripts, when asked if he hadn’t been arrested would he still be out raping, Nichols answered, “probably”.
“He is a very, very evil man,” said Monroe. “The things that he said on the witness stand, if you let him out, he’ll do it again. He said that he would do it again.”
Nichols sued the state in July. His attorneys arguing the pandemic impeded clemency requests. The state is expected to make a new execution date, by the end of 2020. And whatever day that is, Monroe will be flying to Tennessee.
“To make sure that this evil man dies, and he pays for what he did to her.”
Until it finally ends, Monroe looks back, sees her sister how she remembers. Knowing she’ll never get another moment, or another chance to say goodbye.
“I am sorry I didn’t call that night, I wish I had,” she said. “I wish we had been able to spend more time together.”
In response to the postponement of Nichols’ execution, Tennessee Attorney General, Herbert Slatery, at the time, issued a statement critical of the delay.
“If citizens will be called upon to serve as jurors and return to their places of employment in August, there is no reason Nichols’ execution should not also proceed as scheduled,” Slatery wrote.
See more of News 2’s in-depth coverage of “Death Row Delayed”