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May 20, 2019

Tenn. inmate chooses to die by electric chair instead of lethal injection — ‘Lesser of two evils’

October 10, 2018
The attorney for Edmund Zagorski announced Monday night that his client has chosen the electric chair over the state’s three-drug lethal injection. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP)

A Tennessee man convicted of double murder is set to be executed by electric chair Thursday, the state’s first such execution since 2007.

The attorney for Edmund Zagorski, 63, announced Monday night that his client has chosen the electric chair over the state’s three-drug lethal injection.

“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,” Kelley Henry said in a statement. “10-18 minutes of drowning, suffocation and chemical burning is unspeakable.”

Zagorski was convicted of killing two men, John Dotson and Jimmy Porter, in April 1983 after telling them he would sell them 100 pounds of marijuana. Instead, Zagorski shot the two, slit their throats and stole the money. He led police in a shootout before being captured and taken into custody.

Dotson’s wife, Marsha, told WTVF that she petitioned Gov. Bill Haslam to change Zagorski’s sentence to life in prison without parole, but he declined to intervene.

“What’s more inhumane than the way he killed Dale and Jimmy? He shot them twice in the stomach then went down there and slit their throats. Now come on, how much more cruel and inhumane is that?” she told the TV station. “My husband lived 3 to 5 minutes according to the autopsy, and Jimmy lived 5 to 7 minutes. He’s not gonna live 3 minutes, if that long, when they give him that lethal injection. And what’s he gonna do, have a heart attack and die? Or just gonna shut his lungs and heart down? He’s not gonna suffer near as long as my husband and Jimmy did. So I don’t have no pity on him there.”

Only nine states, including Tennessee, allow death by electrocution and just 14 of the 871 inmates executed since 2000 have chosen that method.

The last electrocution in the United States was in January 2013 in Virginia, and the last in Tennessee was 2007.

Zagorski is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Thursday but his attorney plans to ask for a stay of execution so the Supreme Court can review the case.

With News Wire Services

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