Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski told prison officials Monday he would prefer to be executed using the electric chair rather than die by lethal injection, The Tennessean reports. Zagorski, 63, who is scheduled to die Thursday, made the decision within hours of a Tennessee Supreme Court ruling approving the state’s controversial lethal injection protocol. “Mr. Zagorski has indicated that if his execution is to move forward, he believes that the electric chair is the lesser of two evils,” said federal public defender Kelley Henry. Henry cited the expert testimony by doctors that 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.”
State law allows inmates who were 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. Tennessee could be the first state to use it since 2013. Tennessee Department of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor said she did not know if the electric chair would be used. Zagorski a statement Monday saying that while he believes that both lethal injection and the electric chair are unconstitutional, “between two unconstitutional choices I choose electrocution.” He added, “I do not want to be subjected to the torture of the current lethal injection method.” He said he would continue fighting to stop or delay his execution, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.