Execution Protocol: What to Expect

Posted: 4:29 PM, Aug 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-09 19:49:24-04
Execution Protocol: What to Expect

Convicted rapist and murderer Billy Ray Irick is set to be executed at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.


From the moment an inmate is placed on death watch to execution day, everything moves by the books - literally a 99-page manual, which outlines the lethal injection protocol.

Tennessee Department of Correction crews begin by testing the closed circuit T.V. and audio system inside the execution chamber that will show the execution to witnesses inside.

The condemned receives their last meal hours before the execution. Irick chose a Super Deluxe burger with a side of onion rings and a Pepsi.

A total of nine vials containing the lethal injection chemical are color-coated red and moved from storage into the lethal injection room.

The execution team arrives at 5 p.m., two hours before the execution. According to protocol the identities of those team members are known by the fewest number of staff necessary.

Irick will then be given and change into his final set of clothes: a cotton shirt, cotton trousers, cotton socks or cloth house shoes.


At 7 p.m. an extraction team will secure Irick, place him on a gurney and wheel him into the execution chamber. The team is outfitted in such a way to control Irick if he resists.

Irick will then be given a chance to make a last statement, then the drugs will be administered.

The first set of drugs administered will make him unconscious. A warden will check for any signs of consciousness by these actions: 

  • brush the back of his hand
  • touch his eyelashes
  • call out his name twice
  • grab his shoulder muscle with a thumb and two fingers and twisting

Once Irick is officially unconscious, the final drugs will be administered. The warden will allow for a period of five minutes in which the execution will take place.

The witness blinds will then be closed and a Irick will be pronounced dead by a doctor. At that point the warden will announce the following sentence.

"The sentence of Billy Ray Irick has been carried out. Please exit."