A man from Tennessee, Convicted of a double murder was executed on Thursday in the electric chair in the United States after insisting that this unusual method is applied instead of lethal injection. Edmund Zagorski, 63, was the first US convict to die of electrocution in five years.
Zagorski was sentenced to death for the 1983 murder of two men whom he attracted to a wooded area with the promise of selling marijuana. The corpses of the victims were found two weeks later, shot and beheaded.
An 11-hour appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States was denied. Only nine states in the United States continue to use the electric chair as a form of capital punishment. In Tennessee, the method was not used since 2007.
The Corrections Department of the southern state said the execution was carried out “in accordance with the laws” of Tennessee. Zagorski was pronounced dead at 7:26 pm. As a final meal, he asked for pork knuckles and pork tails.
In Tennessee, people sentenced to death before 1999 have the right to choose between the two methods of capital punishment.
Officials initially intended to perform a lethal injection, which has become more common, but Zagorski protested the state’s use of a three-drug cocktail that includes the controversial midazolam sedative. When the Supreme Court of the State rejected his appeal, he asked to be executed in an electric chair.
The midazolam has been the focus of numerous judicial remedies in cases of the death penalty since lawyers have argued that it can not adequately prevent suffering during executions.
The eighth amendment to the United States Constitution provides protections against “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Zagorski’s lawyer, Kelley Henry, said the state had forced him to “choose between two absolutely barbaric methods of death.”
“The protocol of three drugs of the State is certainly torture,” he accused.
Robert Dunham, head of the Death Penalty Information Center , which tracks executions in the United States, said: “What we are seeing in Tennessee is a direct result of the macabre requirement of the US Supreme Court that prisoners propose an alternative method of execution before the Court evaluates whether the State seeks to use is unconstitutionally cruel. ”
“Much is said about the failures of lethal injection as a method of execution if a prisoner opts for a method he considers to be half a minute of torture rather than one that considers 18 minutes of torture,” Dunham added.
Prior to Thursday’s execution, electrocution had only been used nationwide for 14 death sentences out of a total of 900 since 2000 and had not been used at all since 2013. The Death Penalty Information Center lists almost 2% of executions in electric chairs as “failed”.