August 21, 2019
Happening Now Now

Stephen Michael West executed: Death row inmate electrocuted for double murder – Mirror Online

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An inmate on death row has been executed for the double murder of a woman and her teenage daughter.

Stephen Michael West, 56, was put to death for fatally stabbing Wanda Romines, 51, and her daughter Sheila, 15, in their home in 1986.

The sentence was carried out at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee. 

West was pronounced dead at 7.27pm. He had ordered a Philly cheesesteak and French fries for his last meal.

A group of anti-death penalty campaigners staged a protest outside the prison where the killer was executed, singing Amazing Grace and holding a two minute silence.

Stephen Michael West

Before he was executed, West was asked if he had any final words.

In reply he said, while weeping: “In the beginning God created man, and Jesus wept. That’s all.”

Witnesses described him as sobbing uncontrollably at one point, as he sat in the electric chair.

After his death, West’s lawyers issued a statement criticising the decision to execute the convicted killer.

The victims were mother (left) and daughter, killed in their own home

It read: “We are deeply disappointed the State of Tennessee has gone forward with this execution.

“He was diagnosed as having mental health problems, a man of deep faith who has had a positive impact on people around him for decades.

“He has taken personal responsibility for his involvement in these crimes.”

Sheila was stabbed 17 times in the stomach during the gruesome killing and 14 of those wounds were consistent with “torture-type cuts”, the Tennessean reported.

Both victims had their hands bound behind their backs.

West during the trial in the late 1980s  

West was convicted by a jury in 1987 of several crimes, including two counts of first-degree murder, and sentenced him to die.

West, 23 at the time, and 17-year-old accomplice Ronnie Martin left their jobs at a McDonald’s in Lake City, Tennessee.

The pair drove around and drank in Martin’s car and, after a few hours, went to the Romines’ home.

West and Martin waited in front of the home until teen Sheila’ father left for work at 5.20am.

West pictured in custody in 1998

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They then knocked on the door and her mother Wanda let them into the house.

Once inside, the men raped Sheila, who had rebuffed Martin’s advances at school, and stabbed both Sheila and Wanda to death.

Both killers were arrested the next day.

At his trial West tried to blame Martin for the murders.

Martin received a life sentence after he pleaded guilty but avoided the death penalty because he was younger than 18 when the crime was committed. 

He is eligible for parole in 2030.

West’s mugshots throughout the years

West unsuccessfully appealed his case in state and federal courts.

He argued jailhouse recordings of Martin discussing the crime with a fellow inmate showed West was not responsible for the murders.

But with just hours to live, West decided he wanted to die by electrocution.

He’s the third death row prisoner in Tennessee to die in the electric chair in just 10 months.

West became the second inmate in Tennessee and the 11th in the United States to be executed in 2019, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The last inmate to be executed by electric chair was David Miller, 61, in Tennessee in December.

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