Families of murder victims react to TN governor pausing executions


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Two families both waiting for the day their loved one’s killer will be put to death.

“I don’t know, I don’t know if we’re ever going to see this actually happen,” said Jeff Monroe. Harold Nicholas is expected to die on June 9 for the 1988 murder of Monroe’s sister-in-law, 21-year-old Karen Pulley who was raped and beaten in the head with a board.

Byron Black was scheduled for execution on August 18, 2022, for the brutal slaying of Linette Bell’s sister, Angela Clay in her Nashville home along with Angela’s 9-year-old and 6-year-old daughters. “He should have done got the death penalty a long time ago,” Bell said. “This should have been over. We shouldn’t be living in this nightmare over, and over, and over again for three decades. That’s not fair to the family.”

“We’re waiting for justice,” Monroe echoes.

That wait is now made longer with news of Governor Bill Lee’s suspension of 2022 executions for an independent review of lethal injections.

“How many excuses can we come up with? What’s next?” Monroe asked. “And if you get a date, is that a real date? Or is that just we think maybe, perhaps, possibly, it might happen? It’s just frustrating.”

It’s yet another emotional setback to a problem the families feel can be solved another way, the electric chair.

“If the one method doesn’t work, let’s move to the other method. I’m perfectly happy to go that route,” Monroe explained. “It sounds kind of callous, but how much time are you going to let go by? As far as I’m concerned, every day he’s had, every year he’s had, Karen has been gone.”

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Bell fully agrees and said their mother is now 85 years old. The family fears she will pass before the man who murdered three members of her family will. “Governor Lee needs to put himself in one of these families’ positions,” Bell said. “If death has never hit your doorways, your mother or daughter or a child, whoever it may be. If it never hit your door like that, then you’re not going to understand. It’s hard. It’s devastating.”