Tennessee was scheduled on Thursday to electrocute a convicted murder who has been on death row for 36 years, renewing debate on use of the death penalty so long after a crime.
David Earl Miller, 61, was scheduled to be put to death at 7pm (0100 GMT) at a high security prison in Nashville over the beating and stabbing death of a young woman with a mental disability.
Miller was physically and sexually abused as a child and living as a drifter in the early 1980s when a Tennessee pastor gave him shelter in exchange for sex.
Described by a psychologist as a man consumed with rage, Miller exploded on May 20, 1981 while on a date with 23-year-old Lee Standifer.
Miller was convicted of beating and stabbing Standifer to death and leaving the body in a wooded area near the pastor’s home.
Miller was sentenced to death in 1982 and again in 1987 after the state supreme court ordered another trial. Over the years, Miller filed other appeals, but they were all rejected.
Miller won some time after capital punishment in Tennessee was suspended because of controversy over the chemicals used in lethal injections.
But the state recently resumed executions and has put two men to death this year.
Unless the US Supreme Court grants a last-minute stay of execution, Miller will be put to death as scheduled.
His time on death row is close to the 40 years endured by Gary Alvord, who died of natural causes in 2013 in Florida.
The average span between sentencing and execution is 15.5 years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The group says these long delays are bad for tax payers and hard on relatives of murder victims and on death row inmates themselves.
Lee Standifer’s mother, Helen Standifer, told the newspaper The Tennessean that she will not be on hand to watch Miller die.
“It’s taken so long, and I just want it to be finished,” she said.