Tennessee Governor delays inmate's execution due to Covid-19

Death row inmate Harold Wayne Nichols had been scheduled for execution on August 4. By Andy Rose, CNN

(CNN) -- Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has postponed a killer's execution because of the coronavirus.

Lee, a Republican, issued a temporary reprieve to death row inmate Harold Wayne Nichols on Friday, citing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nichols raped and killed Karen Pulley in 1988. He had been set to die on August 4.

"I am granting Harold Wayne Nichols a temporary reprieve from execution until December 31, 2020, due to the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," Lee wrote on Twitter.

Nichols's legal team had asked the Tennessee Supreme Court for a stay of execution due to coronavirus, saying, "The pandemic has necessitated numerous restrictions which curb the activities of Mr. Nichols' legal team."

The court unanimously denied the request on June 4.

Lee's order does not state a specific reason why the execution should be delayed as a result of the pandemic.

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