Stephen West, Tennessee

June 1, 2019

Stephen Michael West was scheduled to be executed at 7:10 pm CST, on Wednesday, August 14, 2019, at the Riverbed Maximum Security Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. Fifty-six-year-old Stephen has been convicted of the rape and murder of 51-year-old Wanda Romines and her daughter 15-year-old Sheila on March 17, 1986, in Lake City, Tennessee. Stephen has spent the last 31 years on Tennessee’s death row.

Stephen was born in a mental institution, where his mother was hospitalized. According to Stephen’s sister, Stephen was abused by his mother as a child. Stephen’s father was an alcoholic who became violent when he drank. Stephen graduated high school, where he was an honor student and never had any disciplinary problems. Stephen joined the military and served for three years in Germany. According to Stephen’s attorney, his military records showed that Stephen had a drug and alcohol problem during his service. Stephen had no criminal record. At the time of his arrest, Stephen was married and his wife was pregnant. Prior to his arrest, Stephen worked at McDonalds.

On March 17, 1986, then-23-year-old Stephen West and 17-year-old co-worker Ronnie Martin left their job and drove around for several hours, drinking. Martin, in whose car they were driving, eventually suggested to West that he knew a girl. Martin and West drove to the home of Sheila Romines, one of Martin’s classmate who had previously refused his advances and embarrassed him in front of other students.


The two waited outside of the home until Mr. Romines left for work. They then knocked on the door to the Romines’ home shortly after 5:20 am and were let in by Sheila’s mother, Wanda. Between 6:00 am and 8:30 am, Wanda and Sheila were raped and murdered. Wanda received several deep stab wounds and torture-type wounds, according to a forensic pathologist. Sheila received 17 stab wounds in the abdomen, 14 of which were torture-type wounds. It was also determined that two different knives were used, likely by two different people.


West and Martin were arrested the following day. Each was charged separately. Martin was too young to receive the death penalty and was given two life sentences. West claimed that although he was present for the crime, he did not participate in the murders. He also alleged that Martin threatened to kill him and his wife he went to the police. West was ultimately sentenced to death.


Stephen West was previously scheduled to be executed on February 10, 2015. That execution was granted a stay of execution due to an ongoing legal battle over the state’s execution protocol.


Please pray for peace and healing for the family of Wanda and Sheila Romines. Please pray for the family of Stephen. Please pray that if Stephen is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed or should not be executed for any other reason, evidence will be presented before he is executed. Please pray that Stephen will come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.



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