NASHVILLE — Gov. Bill Haslam told attendees at a conference of church leaders today that he "can't honestly answer" what decision he will make on 10 convicted murderers' scheduled executions in Tennessee until their pleas for clemency come before him.
During the Q Ideas conference, Haslam was asked how, as a Christian, he would handle the situation. The conference is hosted by the Christian group Q and explores issues that shape culture, faith and the church.
"I can't honestly answer when it comes to 11 o'clock the night before exactly what that would feel like and look like," Haslam said in response to a question posed by Q founder Gabe Lyons.
He said he is assembling a panel of mental experts, law enforcement and district attorneys to advise him. Haslam also said he plans to do some praying.
Tennessee has scheduled executions for 10 death row inmates over the next two years. Now in his fourth year in office, Haslam has yet to deal with the issue once appeals run their course.
Haslam and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean fielded questions on a variety of other topics from Lyons.
The event was originally said to be closed to news media unless they paid a conference fee to listen to the governor. But a Haslam spokesman waved reporters in.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...