A death row inmate has requested to be executed using the electric chair, rather than lethal injection.
Murderer Edmund Zagorski, 63, who is scheduled to die Thursday, made the decision within hours of a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that approved the state’s controversial lethal injection protocol, reports the Tennessean .
Federal public defender Kelley Henry wrote in an email on Monday evening: "Mr Zagorski has indicated that if his execution is to move forward, he believes that the electric chair is the lesser of two evils.
"We notified prison officials of his decision within two hours of the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision."
Mr Henry referenced expert testimony that said the state’s lethal injection drugs would make an inmate feel like they were drowning and burning alive at the same time.
"Ten to 18 minutes of drowning, suffocation and chemical burning is unspeakable," the testimony said, according to reports.
The Tennessean reports that state law allows inmates sentenced to death for a crime committed before 1999 to sign a waiver choosing death by electrocution.
Tennessee last used the electric chair in 2007, when death row inmate Daryl Holton was executed.
Holton was convicted of killing his three sons and a stepdaughter in 1997.
Holton’s attorney David Raybin said Holton chose the electric chair "weeks if not months" before his execution. Raybin said it would take a lot of work to prepare Department of Correction staff for that method of execution.
Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor said she was not aware of Zagorski’s decision and did not know if the electric chair would be used.
State law does not set a set a deadline for inmates to make their choice.
Mr Raybin said: “It’s an interesting legal move but I think it also makes a statemen.
"There has to be a better way of doing this than this lethal injection. It was designed to be benign, but it’s not."
Henry provided a copy of the affidavit Zagorski signed Monday, in which he stated that, while he believes that both lethal injection and the electric chair are unconstitutional, "between two unconstitutional choices I choose electrocution."
"I do not want to be subjected to the torture of the current lethal injection method," Zagorski said.
He said he would continue fighting to stop or delay his execution.
Governor Bill Haslam on Friday refused to commute the Zagorski’s sentence. His legal team plans to ask the US Supreme Court to intervene this week.
Zagorski was convicted in 1984 of killing two men.
He shot them, slit their throats and robbed them after luring them into the woods by promising to sell them a large amount of marijuana, according to Tennessean archives.
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