Who is David Earl Miller, what are execution laws in Tennessee and what crimes did he commit?

Here’s more about the man who is set to be killed within hours.

Who is David Earl Miller?

David Earl Miller was convicted of first-degree murder for the May 1981 killing his 23-year-old girlfriend Lee Standifer.

Court documents say little about Miller's victim, other than noting she had "diffused brain damage when born" and was "mildly retarded."

The same documents described Miller as a drifter who had been living in the home of a man who picked him up hitch-hiking.

Miller was aged 23 when he murdered Standifer and has been on Tennessee’s death row for 36 years.

What crime did he commit?

Miller and his mentally-handicapped girlfriend Standifer were seen together in Knoxville on the evening of May 20, 1981.

The young woman's body was found the next day in the backyard of the home where Miller had been living.

She had been beaten, possibly with a fire poker, and stabbed multiple times.

Miller later said he was on drugs at the time and didn't remember the crime.

He was sentenced to death in 1982, and again in 1987 after the first sentence was thrown out.

The jury found the murder was "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel."

He will be executed on December 6, 2018 by electrocution after spending the longest amount of time on death row that any other Tennessee inmate.

What did he ask for in his last meal?

Miller has chosen fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and coffee for his last meal.

A last meal is a customary ritual preceding execution and in most countries, an inmate of death row is allowed to select a meal of their choice.

In the United States, most states give the meal a day or two before execution and use the euphemism "special meal".

Alcohol or tobacco are usually denied.

Unorthodox or unavailable requests are replaced with substitutes.

Some states place tight restrictions on prisoners’ last meal requests.

In Florida, the food for the last meal must be purchased locally and the cost is limited to $40.

In Oklahoma, cost is limited to $15, and in Louisiana the prison warden traditionally joins the prisoner for their last meal.

In September 2011, the state of Texas abolished all special last meal requests after condemned prisoner Lawrence Russell Brewer requested a huge last meal and did not eat any of it, saying he was not hungry.

What are the execution laws in Tennessee?

Commonly referred to as the death penalty, capital punishment remains a legal sentence under Tennessee laws.

The Volunteer State has had a long history with executions dating back to the 19th century, but had a 40-year hiatus from 1960 to 2000.

The death penalty is prohibited as a punishment for mentally incapacitated inmates in Tennessee, and the minimum age for execution is 18.

The method of execution in Tennessee is lethal injection, but if the offense was committed prior to January 1, 1999, then the inmate may elect for death by electrocution.

Before 1913, the method of execution used in Tennessee was hanging, but electrocution became the method of execution in 1916 after a two-year hiatus from the death penalty from 1913-1915.

From 1972 until 1978, there were no offenders sentenced to death in Tennessee because of the US Supreme Court declaring it unconstitutional.

When the death penalty became legal in the state again in 1978, those offenders sitting on death row from 1960 to 1978 had their sentenced commuted mostly to life.

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