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A Man Is Set To Be Executed For The Brutal Rape And Murder Of 7-Year-Old Paula Dyer — And Her Parents Want To Remind Us Of What She Went Through

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The man who murdered 7-year-old Paula Dyer in 1985 is scheduled to be executed Aug. 9 and her family wants people to remember why he was sentenced to death decades ago.

Although Billy Irick claims he was framed, Paula's mother was committed to reminding the world what happened to her daughter all those years ago, according to 11Alive. 

"All you ever hear about is him [Billy Irick]. Nothing about her," said Kathy Jeffers, the mother of Paula. "What he did to her is the reason he's where he is. I am sick of hearing about his pain and his suffering."

"What about her pain and her suffering? She was 7 years old, raped, sodomized, and strangled to death. I'm sorry, I feel nothing for his pain. Nothing at all. God, forgive me, but I don't."

Paula was one of seven children her parents had from previous relationships and she and her siblings got along famously like in The Brady Bunch, Jeffers said.

"All of the kids were really close and loved each other," she continued. "There was no 'step' or 'half' brother or sister. They were brothers and sisters from the start. They would seriously fight anyone who told them they were not full brothers and sisters and still feel that way."

Irick became "like a part of the family" after he moved into the house with Paula's family and even helped out with the kids. Kathy said he even saved two of the boys when the house they rented caught fire.

But after the house burned down, the Jeffers couldn't find a big enough house to accommodate Irick, which angered the former roommate.

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On April 15, Jeffer's ex-husband Kenny asked Irick to babysit little Paula and her four brothers because he and Kathy worked late and their usual babysitter was unable to take care of the kids that night.

But soon after Kathy left the five kids with Irick, she said she felt uncomfortable.

"I don't know if you call it 'intuition,' but something seemed off about him. I stopped at a payphone and called Kenny at the truck stop and asked him to get back to the house," she said. 

To Kathy's horror, Kenny received a phone call from Irick around midnight. He told him that he couldn't wake Paula up. Kathy frantically phoned Kenny, who found Paula lying in a pool of blood when he arrived at the home.


He rushed her to the hospital but she was dead before she got there. Doctors ruled her death a result of asphyxiation and concluded that she was raped and sodomized as well as have been beaten with a blunt object.

Irick had locked the four boys in a room while he violated and killed Paula as they listened in terror.

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"The boys tried to get to her and help but couldn't because the door was barricaded," Jeffers remembered. "They still have nightmares. Everybody that has been tied to this, in one way or another, is a victim of Billy Irick."

"My family lived through it. Now my grandchildren are living through it. It has been 30-something years and it is still going on. The suffering just doesn't stop."

Irick confessed to murdering the 7-year-old and was sentenced to death in 1986. He has since been scheduled for execution five times, including his upcoming date, and Jeffers just wants it to be over.

Tennessee Department of Correction

"I felt like it [the death penalty] was deserved and it was over. Or it would be over. It still is not over 30-something years later," she said.

The heartbroken mother wants everyone to remember her daughter as the loving and happy little girl she was.

"She was very outgoing and very friendly. She never met a stranger," Jeffers said of Paula. Sometimes it scared me to death. We would be at K-Mart and I'd turn around to find her a few aisles over trying to hold somebody's hand."

"I tried to tell her she could not do that, and she said, 'Why, mommy? Jesus loves everybody. Why can't I?' That was Paula."

She said that once Irick is executed, Paula will be able to rest in peace.

"She was alive. She's real. She's not just a name on a piece of paper," she said. "That's what she is boiled down to now, according to the papers and the courts, is just a name. She is more than that. She is a lot more than that. She still is." 

"I don't think Paula can rest in peace until this is resolved. I honestly don't believe she can. Paula needs to rest in peace."

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Sarah Gangraw is a travel-addicted cat lady who lives on black coffee and cheese. She has a degree in journalism and writes about all things news, entertainment and crime. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter — she's occasionally funny.