National news in brief

Tenn. set to kill 1st inmate in a decade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee is set to execute a man for the 1985 rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl, in what would be the first time the state has applied the death penalty since 2009.

Fifty-nine-year-old inmate Billy Ray Irick is scheduled to receive a three-drug injection this evening. He was convicted in the death of the Knoxville girl he was babysitting when she was slain.

The execution, if carried out, would occur a week after Pope Francis revealed new church teaching that deems the death penalty “inadmissible” under all circumstances.

On Monday, the state Supreme Court denied a stay of Irick’s execution, saying the inmates’ lawsuit wasn’t likely to succeed.

Gov. Bill Haslam also declined to intervene.

Judge could rule on plea deal release

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A man who confessed to a string of rapes and murders with his brother in Ohio could soon find out whether a judge will release him from prison.

Attorneys for 59-year-old Nathaniel Cook say a plea deal signed nearly two decades ago requires him to be freed after he’s finished serving 20 years.

A judge in Toledo has scheduled a hearing for today where she’s expected to make a decision on the release.

An agreement with prosecutors forced Cook to admit he killed three people in the 1980s while his brother confessed to killing five others.

Families of the victims say Cook’s confessions gave them needed answers, but they now want the judge to keep him in prison.

Charges dropped against 11-year-old

CINCINNATI (AP) — Charges have been dropped against an 11-year-old Ohio girl who was suspected of shoplifting from a supermarket when a police officer shocked her with a stun gun.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Wednesday night that stunning the girl who “posed no danger to the police” was wrong.

The encounter happened Monday night at a Kroger in the city. Police say the officer suspected the girl was using a backpack to shoplift when he approached her. They say the girl resisted and tried to flee before she was shocked with a stun gun.

The girl was taken to a hospital and released to a guardian.

She initially was charged with theft and obstruction of justice, but the mayor says he asked the prosecutor to drop the charges.

An investigation is underway.