Edmund Zagorski, 63, was electrocuted in the chair at a maximum-security prison in Nashville on Thursday night after his last meal request of pickled pig knuckles and pig tails
A Tennessee man convicted of a 1980s double murder has been executed in the electric chair, after insisting on the rarely used method rather than lethal injection.
Edmund Zagorski, 63, was electrocuted in the chair at a maximum-security prison in Nashville on Thursday night after his last meal request of pickled pig knuckles and pig tails.
Zagorski’s official time of death was 7.26pm.
Asked if he had any last words just moments before the execution, Zagorski said: ‘Let’s rock’.
Witnesses to his execution said Zagorski mostly looked ahead but did look around the death chamber at a Nashville prison in the minutes before his death.
He alternated between grimacing and smiling as a sponge was put on his head. Authorities then put a shroud over his head, which was followed by the helmet.
Witnesses noted that his fists clenched when the voltage was applied and he raised up in his chair when each jolt of electricity went through him.
Zagorski did not move once the electricity stopped flowing.
He had opted for the electric chair over a lethal injection after arguing it would be a quicker and less painful way to die.
He is the first inmate in five years to be put to death by electrocution in the United States. Pictured above is the electric chair Zagorski was electrocuted in on Thursday
Zagorski had opted for the electric chair over a lethal injection after arguing it would be a quicker and less painful way to die
His attorneys then launched a last minute appeal on Thursday to the U.S. Supreme Court to halt the execution, saying it was unconstitutional to force him to choose between the electric chair and lethal injection.
He is the first inmate in five years to be put to death by electrocution in the United States. He became only the second person to die in the electric chair in Tennessee since 1960.
Nationwide, only 14 other people have been put to death in the electric chair since 2000, including a Virginia inmate in 2013.
The state came close to administering a chemical injection to Zagorski three weeks ago, but the plan was halted by Tennessee’s governor when the inmate exercised his right to request the electric chair.
In Tennessee, condemned inmates whose crimes occurred before 1999 can choose the electric chair. It is only one of six states that allow such a choice.
Vigils were organized outside the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville on Thursday night ahead of Zagorski’s execution
People form a circle and pray against the death penalty just before the execution of Edmund Zagorski at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution
Zagorski was convicted of the April 1983 slayings of two men during a drug deal.
He shot victims John Dotson and Jimmy Porter and then slit their throats after robbing the two men after they came to him to buy marijuana.
Zagorski has been on death row for 34 years.
Tennessee’s electric chair was inspected on October 10 and found to meet the criteria for an execution, according to state documents.
The device was originally rebuilt in the late 1980s by a self-taught execution expert, Fred Leuchter, who feared the device would malfunction on Thursday.
It’s only been used to execute one person before: Daryl Holton, in 2007.
Leuchter had a successful career in the execution business before his reputation was tainted by his claim that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. He is no longer welcome in the prison system.