US inmate chooses electric chair over lethal injection

US inmate chooses electric chair over lethal injection

Miller, Zagorski and Tennessee's other death row inmates had previously tried to challenge the state's lethal injection protocol, saying it constituted cruel and unusual punishment, a violation of the Eighth Amendment. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the majority ruling, as she did when the high court denied Zagorski's petition for a stay.

In claims to the court, Miller's attorneys had argued that the electric chair is unconstitutional but the state's lethal injection method is worse.

The 61-year-old, who has spent nearly all of his adult life on death row, is scheduled to die Thursday night.

David Earl Miller was convicted of killing Lee Standifer, 23, in 1981 in Knoxville. Standifer was a mentally handicapped woman who had been on a date with Miller the night she was repeatedly beaten, stabbed and dragged into a wooded area.

Haslam has already rejected similar requests from other death row inmates this year.

In 2014, Tennessee became the first state to make use of the electric chair mandatory when lethal injection drugs were unavailable.

The electric chair is an available alternative to lethal injection in nine states.

Both had unsuccessfully argued in court that Tennessee's lethal injection method causes a prolonged and torturous death.

Any death row inmate who was convicted of a capital offense before January 1, 1999, can instead choose electrocution over lethal injection, according to Tennessee law. Zagorski's execution was delayed about three weeks after he requested the electric chair amid a last-minute flurry of legal maneuvers.

Prior to Zagorski's execution, the electric chair had not been used since 2013. It was only the second time Tennessee had put an inmate to death in the electric chair since 1960.

Courts in Georgia and Nebraska have said the electric chair is unconstitutional.

Billy Ray Irick's execution by lethal injection took around 20 minutes
Image Billy Ray Irick's execution by lethal injection took around 20 minutes

Miller and Zagorski pointed to the state's execution of Billy Ray Irick in August, which took about 20 minutes.

The duo's case was thrown out - mainly because a judge said they failed to prove that a more humane alternative was available.

David Earl Miller, 61, was pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m.in Nashville, correction officials said.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam won't intervene in what would be the state's second execution by electric chair in as many months.

It follows a series of executions using a variety of drug combinations where prisoners have appeared to suffer.

The execution plan comes almost two decades after Tennessee adopted lethal injection.

He became the second person to request electrocution over lethal injection in Tennessee, behind Edmund Zagorski, who was put to death on November 1.

Haslam said in a one-sentence statement Thursday that he's declining to intervene in 61-year-old David Earl Miller's planned execution Thursday evening after "careful consideration" of the death row inmate's clemency request.

The day after Zagorski's execution, Miller and three other Tennessee death row inmates filed another lawsuit in a U.S. district court in Nashville arguing that the state's lethal injection and electrocution protocols violated the constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

This meal will be provided to Miller Thursday afternoon.

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