Tennessee man asks governor for mercy as he faces electric chair

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2018

Federal public defender Stephen Kissinger, who represents Miller, said the court didn't consider "years of horrific abuse, sexual assault and neglect that left Miller with post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues that should have blocked the death penalty".

Convicted murderer Edmund Zagorski, who was executed on 1 November, had also chosen the electric chair over lethal injection, despite proponents saying this method is painless and humane.

The 61-year-old has been on death row for 36 years - the longest time a prisoner has waited for execution in the state.

Both inmates had argued in court that Tennessee's current method, involving the drug midazolam, involves a prolonged and torturous death. They point to the August execution of Billy Ray Irick, which took around 20 minutes, and during which the condemned man was observed coughing and huffing before turning a dark purple.

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

Miller believes death by electrocution would be less painful than by the state's lethal injection mix, court documents said.

Unless the US Supreme Court grants a last-minute stay of execution, Miller will be put to death as scheduled.

In Tennessee, inmates whose crimes were committed before 1999 can chose electrocution over lethal injection.

David Miller was convicted in Knox County of first-degree murder for the 1981 killing of Lee Standifer, a 23-year-old woman.

David Earl Miller filed one request on Monday, arguing the electric chair is unconstitutional but the state's lethal injection method is worse.

Gov. Bill Haslam earlier Thursday turned down a request to commute Miller's sentence to life in prison. Before Zagorski, the last time Tennessee used its electric chair was 2007. He was the second inmate in more than a month to choose electrocution. He has spent 36 years on death row, the longest of any Tennessee inmate. David Earl Miller, a Tennessee death row inmate, was waiting Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018, to see whether the U.S. Supreme Court or the governor would halt his Thursday execution in the electric chair.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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