Tennessee executes man by electric chair, second in 50 years

The prisoner chose electrocution over lethal injection

Witnesses describe Tenn. electric chair execution

NASHVILLE (RNN) - A man was put to death by electrocution on Thursday night, making him the second person to use the electric chair since the 1960s.

Edmund Zagorski, 63, was sentenced to death for the 1984 murders of two men.

His application for a stay of execution with the U.S. Supreme Court was denied earlier in the evening, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.

Zagorski chose to die by electric chair instead of lethal injection, which is the main method of execution in Tennessee.

Offenders who committed a capital offense before Jan. 1, 1999, can opt for death by electrocution.

“The death of Edmund Zagorski was carried out by means of electrocution on Nov. 1, 2018,” said Neysa Taylor, the director of communication for the Tennessee Department of Communication.

Zagorski was electrocuted twice. His time of death was reported as 7:26 p.m. CT.

According to reporters who witnessed the execution and conducted a media conference afterwards, Zagorski’s last words were, “Let’s rock.”

They described him calmly smiling before guards began to prepare him for the electrocution.

His final meal was pickled pig knuckles and pig tails.

One of the reporters at the press conference, Nicole Young of the Robertson County Times, described the execution.

“We heard the distinct sound of the electricity beginning, and saw him flex his hands,” Young said. “All of a sudden, his hand flexed into fists, he stiffened, raised up a little bit during the first jolt, and then relaxed some. but his hands stayed clenched with the right pinkie over the chair rest. ... He had the second jolt and raised up in the chair even higher the second time.”

FILE - This undated file photo released by the Tennessee Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Edmund Zagorski in Tennessee. If Tennessee electrocutes Zagorski, it will be in an electric chair built by a self-taught execution expert who is no longer welcome in the prison system. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP, File)
FILE - This undated file photo released by the Tennessee Department of Corrections shows death row inmate Edmund Zagorski in Tennessee. If Tennessee electrocutes Zagorski, it will be in an electric chair built by a self-taught execution expert who is no longer welcome in the prison system. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP, File) (Source: AP)

Since 1960, Tennessee has only used electrocution once, and that was in 2007.

A lethal injection could take up to 18 minutes to take his life, and Zagorski’s lawyers had argued those last minutes would be “utter terror and agony.”

That method of execution has come under scrutiny for a series of botched executions and for the pain caused during others.

Drug companies, facing backlash, also stopped manufacturing and selling the drug to states for the purpose of executions

7 Badly Botched Executions

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