Inmate Makes His Choice Ahead of Execution

Edmund Zagorski requests electric chair, 'lesser of two evils,' over lethal injection
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 9, 2018 12:10 PM CDT
Tennessee Inmate Wants Electric Chair, Not Injection
Edmund Zagorski   (Mugshot)

A Tennessee inmate set to be executed this week is asking the state to allow him to die by electric chair over lethal injection because it's the "lesser of two evils." Attorney Kelley Henry confirmed that Edmund Zagorski made the request roughly two hours before the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol is constitutional. The decision paved the way for the execution of Zagorski on Thursday, the AP reports. "Faced with the choice of two unconstitutional methods of execution, Mr. Zagorski has indicated that if his execution is to move forward, he believes that the electric chair is the lesser of two evils," said Henry in a statement. "10-18 minutes of drowning, suffocation, and chemical burning is unspeakable."

In Tennessee, death row inmates whose offenses came before January 1999 can choose the electric chair or lethal injection. The last time Tennessee put someone to death by electric chair was 2007. Tennessee is one of only nine states that allow electrocutions, and just 14 of the 871 inmates executed in the United States since 2000 have been killed in the electric chair, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 in the slayings of two men during a drug deal. Prosecutors said Zagorski shot John Dotson and Jimmy Porter, then slit their throats after robbing them in Robertson County in April 1983. The victims had planned to buy marijuana from Zagorski. Along with the request for the electric chair, Henry will ask for a stay of Zagorski's execution to allow the Supreme Court time to review the case.

(More electric chair stories.)

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