A convicted murderer was put to death in Tennessee's electric chair Thursday, becoming the state's fifth prisoner over 16 months to choose electrocution over the state's preferred method of lethal injection. Nicholas Sutton, 58, was pronounced dead at 7:26pm at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, the AP reports. Asked if he had any last words, Sutton looked directly into the witness room and spoke clearly. "I would like to thank my wife for being such a good witness to the Lord, and my family and many friends who loved and supported me and tried so very hard to save my life," Sutton said. He also spoke of his Christian faith, saying that Jesus Christ had "fixed him" and he was looking forward to being in the presence of God.
Sutton was sentenced to death in 1986 for killing a fellow inmate, child rapist Carl Estep, in a conflict over a drug deal while both were incarcerated in an East Tennessee prison, where Sutton had been serving a life sentence for three previous murders. In 1979, when he was 18, Sutton was found guilty of knocking his grandmother unconscious and throwing her in a river to drown, the Knoxville News Sentinel reports. He later confessed to killing school friend John Large, 19, and 45-year-old Knoxville man Charles Almon. No family members of either Sutton or his victims witnessed the execution. Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman Dorinda Carter said Sutton had asked his family not to be present. (An unexpected group of people tried to halt Sutton's execution.)