Friday, November 2, 2018

Tennessee executes killer by electric chair

The 20th Execution of 2018
Tennessee Death row inmate Edmund Zagorski died at 7:26 p.m. CDT Thursday after prison officials electrocuted him with the electric chair, reported the Tennessean.  
He is the 134th person put to death by Tennessee since 1916 and the second person this year after Billy Ray Irick’s execution by lethal injection on Aug. 9. He is the first person to die by electric chair since Daryl Horton's execution in 2007.
Zagorski, 63, was convicted in the April 1983 murders of John Dale Dotson, of Hickman County, and Jimmy Porter, of Dickson. Prosecutors argued Zagorski lured them into the woods in Robertson County with the promise to sell them marijuana, and then he shot them, slit their throats and stole their money.
Two minutes before it was set to begin at 7 p.m., the U.S. Supreme Court denied Zagorski's appeal on the grounds of the unconstitutionality of choosing between the electric chair and lethal injection. 
As dark clouds loomed over Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville and the sunset changed the sky from bright pink to black, a police-escorted van arrived.
Eight people believed to be family members of the victims entered the prison to witness the execution.
They waited in front of a covered large window that looked into the execution chamber where on the other side of the glass Zagorski sat pinned in the electric chair, held down by buckles and straps with electrodes fastened to his feet.
The blinds opened for the rest of the witnesses to see Zagorski dressed in his cotton clothes, smiling and grimacing to the group.
Zagorski pronounced his last words: "Let’s rock."
He sat smiling in the wired chair as prison staff placed a wet sponge, which had been soaked in salt, and a metal helmet on his freshly shaven head.
Zagorski raised his eyebrows, appearing to be communicating with his attorney Kelley Henry. She sat while nodding and tapping her heart, looking at Zagorski.
“I told him, when I put my hand over my heart, that was me holding him in my heart,” Henry told The Tennessean. She said Zagorski smiled, to encourage her to smile back. 
Then his face was covered with a black shroud.
The warden gave the signal to proceed. Zagorski lifted his right hand several times in what looked like attempts to wave, before he clenched his hands into a fist as the first current ran 1,750 volts of electricity through his body for 20 seconds.
There was a short pause before the second jolt was administered for 15 seconds.
The doctor overseeing the death appeared in view to check on Zagorski’s vitals.
Zagorski was dead. The blinds into the chamber closed.
Ten minutes later, the victims' families exited the building and drove away in the van without speaking publicly.
"The death of Edmund Zagorski was carried out by means of electrocution on Nov. 1, 2018," Neysa Taylor, director of communications for the Tennessee Department of Correction, said in a press conference.
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