Knox County man on death row now says he was framed ---- Billy Ray Irick confessed to killing; defense claims psychosis
Billy Ray Irick, on death row for rape and murder, was in Knox County Criminal Court on Monday.
While his defense team insists he was psychotic when he raped and strangled a 7-year-old Knox County girl more than a quarter century ago, convicted killer Billy Ray Irick contends he was framed.
In the 2nd day of a last-ditch hearing to avoid execution for the April 1985 slaying of Paula Kay Dyer, a clinical psychologist who evaluated Irick this weekend revealed that Irick is now blaming Paula's stepfather for her death.
That contention comes despite his decades-old confession to the crime and his own defense team's recent push to show that Irick was in the midst of a psychotic break when he killed Paula and has no real memory of the actions for which he now faces execution Dec. 7.
Clinical psychologist Bruce Seidner testified Tuesday before Knox County Criminal Court Judge Richard Baumgartner that Irick is now denying responsibility for the rape and murder and instead is blaming then-stepfather Kenneth Jeffers.
"He felt the stepfather was somewhat involved in this," Seidner testified. "He feels like there was no objective motivation for him, but there was tremendous objective motivation for this stepfather."
Prior court hearings show that Irick had been living with Kenneth Jeffers' mother in the days before Paula's death but was kicked out when he grew violent. Jeffers then allowed Irick to stay at the home he shared with wife Kathy Jeffers and her children, including Paula.
On the night of Paula's death, Kathy Jeffers was headed to work but grew concerned about leaving Irick with her children because he was drinking and showing signs of anger at her in-laws over being kicked out of their home. Court records show she phoned Kenneth Jeffers and asked him to take over baby-sitting duties from Irick.
He dallied, however, insisting the children were fine in Irick's care. Soon after, Kenneth Jeffers received an urgent call from Irick that Paula was in peril, court records show. Jeffers returned to the home to discover Paula raped and strangled, according to appellate court records.
Irick confessed, and a year later was sentenced to death. Having lost all state and federal appeals, he is now trying to convince Baumgartner he is too psychotic to be executed.
Seidner testified Tuesday that Irick is fully aware of what he was convicted of and why he is on death row.
"He feels like (his current defense team) is doing everything they can, and he trusts they're working on his behalf," Seidner said.
Baumgartner said he would rule in more than five days. Whatever he opines, an appeal is expected, making it unlikely Irick will actually face execution this year.http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2010/aug/17/man-on-death-row-now-says-he-was-framed/