Offense: Murder 1
Offense date: April 30, 1985
County of conviction: Knox
Sentence date: Dec. 3, 1986
Appeal Status: Re-sentencing hearing granted in May 2009
Irick was convicted of raping and killing a 7-year-old Knoxville girl he had been baby-sitting in 1985.
The court rejected an appeal from Irick's attorneys to issue a certificate of commutation. They had argued he was insane at the time of the crime.
In support, they introduced affidavits from the victim's stepfamily recounting Irick's bizarre behavior in the days before the slaying. That includes Irick chasing a girl he did not know down the street with a machete because he "didn't like her looks" and telling people he was "taking instructions from the devil."
While setting an execution date, the court also ordered a hearing in the Knox County Criminal Court to determine whether Irick is competent to be executed. Those proceedings must conclude within 55 days.
Billy Ray Irick’s defense says he was insane at the time of the 1985 rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl. And they say his mental illness should preclude him from facing the death penalty.