Tennessee GOP lawmaker regrets pitch to bring back hanging criminals 'by a tree'
Tennessee State Rep. Paul Sherrell (Facebook photo)

Tennessee State Rep. Paul Sherrell is now expressing regret for floating a proposal to bring back hanging convicted criminals from trees.

News Channel 5 Nashville reports that Sherrell originally expressed an openness to bringing back tree hangings during a discussion on another Republican's proposal to bring back executions by firing squads.

While talking about the proposal at a House Criminal Justice Committee meeting, Sherrell asked if he could "put an amendment on that it would include hanging by a tree also?"

Although his suggestion was ignored by other lawmakers, it did catch the attention of Gloria Sweet-Love, the President of the Tennessee State Conference of the NAACP, who called his remarks "beyond disgusting" and accused him of "celebrating a particular form of execution used against African Americans in Tennessee and across the nation, including innocent and wrongfully convicted persons."

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Days after the controversy erupted, Sherrell expressed regrets for his remarks.

"I regret that I used very poor judgment in voicing my support of a colleague’s bill in the Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday," he said in a prepared statement. "My exaggerated comments were intended to convey my belief that for the cruelest and most heinous crimes, a just society requires the death penalty in kind."