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Tennessee death row inmates dying of natural causes

March 31st, 2014 1:04 pm by Associated Press

Tennessee death row inmates dying of natural causes

NASHVILLE— Many inmates awaiting execution on Tennessee's death row never make it to the execution chamber.

The Tennessean reports that since 2000, nine death row inmates have died of natural causes and one committed suicide. Six have been executed.

In November, inmate Paul Dennis Reid died of heart disease in a hospital while awaiting execution for a 1997 killing spree that led to seven deaths. The newspaper reports that the state spent nearly $600,000 on Reid's prison housing and medical costs.

Death penalty supporters say such costs prove that the criminal justice system takes too long and allows too many appeals. Opponents say the costs prove that the death penalty is a waste of money and that life sentences would save taxpayers millions.

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