Tennessee executes man on death row for 36 years

Washington (AFP) - Tennessee on Thursday electrocuted a convicted murder who had been on death row for 36 years, in a case that renewed debate on use of the death penalty so long after a crime.

David Earl Miller, 61, was put to death at 7:25 pm (0125 GMT) at a high security prison in Nashville, authorities said, over the beating and stabbing death of a young woman with a mental disability.

It was the second use of an electric chair in the US in just over a month, after it had not been used since 2013.

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 had put two men to death this year before him.

The US Supreme Court declined to grants a last-minute stay of execution.

His time on death row was 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 would not be on hand to watch Miller die.

"It's taken so long, and I just want it to be finished," she said.