July 9, 2018
Billy Ray Irick is scheduled to be executed at 7:10 pm CDT on Thursday, August 9, 2018, at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee. Fifty-nine-year-old Billy is convicted of raping and murdering 7-year-old Paula Kay Dyer on April 15, 1985, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Billy has spent the past 31 years on Tennessee’s death row.
Billy Irick was friends with Paula’s mother, Kathy, and step-father, Kenneth, and lived with them for a time, looking after their five young children while they worked. On April 14, 1985, Paula was living with her mother, while Irick and her step-father were staying with Kenneth’s mother. Paula’s mother left Irick to watch the children while she went out to look for work. She was uneasy about leaving the children with Irick since he had been drinking, although he did not seem intoxicated. She called Kenneth, telling him her fears. He agreed to check on Irick and the children.
Around midnight, Irick called Kenneth, asking him to come by, saying he was unable to wake up Paula. When he arrived, Paula was lying on the living room floor with blood between her legs. Kenneth checked to see if Paula had a pulse, which she did, and then took her to the Children’s Hospital. Paula was pronounced dead a short time after arriving, as they were unable to resuscitate her.
An autopsy determined that Paula likely died from asphyxiation or suffocation. She also had some bruising and cuts on her face. Additionally, evidence showed she had been raped.
Irick was arrested the following day after he was discovered hiding under a bridge. After being arrested, Irick confessed to the crime. He was sentenced to death on December 3, 1986.
In 2010, Irick claimed that he was in the middle of a psychotic break when Paula was murdered and has no memory of his actions from that day. Irick also claims that he was set up by Paula’s step-father, Kenneth, whom, Irick alleges, was the one that murdered Paula.
At the age of six, a clinical psychologist determined that Billy Irick was “suffering from a severe neurotic anxiety reaction with a possibility of mild organic brain damage.” The following year, Billy was hospitalized and treated with anti-psychotic medication for the next 10 months. Following treatment, Billy was discharged to a Church of God home where he remained until he was a teenager. At the age of 13, Billy visited his family, which resulted in him destroying the television with an axe and cutting up his sister’s pajamas with a razor while she slept in them. After returning to the home, Billy snuck into the girl’s dormitory. Billy was expelled and sent back to the hospital, where it was discovered that he had been taken off of his psychotropic drugs. He remained at the hospital until he was 14, at which time he was released to his parents. Billy joined the Army at 17, but was quickly discharged. Billy’s mother also suffered from a psychiatric disorder.
According to interviews conducted by Billy’s attorneys, in the weeks leading up to Paula’s murder, Billy exhibited strange behavior, such as chasing a young girl down the street with a machete because he “didn’t like her looks.” Billy also claims that he was hearing and talking back to voices inside of his head. Billy claims that if this information had been presented at his trial, it could have changed the outcome.
This is not Billy’s first execution date. Billy was previously scheduled to be executed in October 2014, however his execution was stayed due to ongoing legal challenges to Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol.
Please pray for peace for the family of Paula. Please pray for strength for the family of Billy. Please pray that if Billy is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed, or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be presented prior to his execution. Please pray that Billy may come to have a peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.