State high court won't hear inmate appeal as execution looms

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Posted at 11:36 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 12:36:18-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of an inmate facing execution this week who sought to have his case reopened after an unknown person's DNA was found on one of the murder weapons.

The one-sentence order Monday comes as the state prepares to execute 72-year-old Oscar Smith by lethal injection Thursday. Smith was moved to death watch at 11:59 p.m. Monday, per protocol.

He was convicted of fatally stabbing and shooting his estranged wife, Judith Smith, and her sons in 1989. He has maintained that he is innocent.

The state Court of Criminal Appeals ruled last week that Smith didn’t provide evidence that he is innocent of the murders of three people.

Smith has also asked the state Supreme Court to halt his execution date.