(HeadlineNews) – Tennessee plans to execute 63-year-old Edmund Zagorski by electrocution on Thursday night after the condemned man requested not to be put to death by lethal injection.
Zagorski, who killed two men in 1983 who were carrying a large amount of cash in order to buy 100 pounds of marijuana, would be the first U.S. inmate executed by electrocution since 2013.
He is to be executed at 7 p.m. Central Time (0000 GMT) on Thursday. His attorneys have filed for a stay to the execution with the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lawyers for Zagorski said he believed that compared with the state’s lethal injection mix, the electric chair would be a less painful option.
Zagorski was to have been put to death on Oct. 11, but Governor Bill Haslam granted a temporary reprieve.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month denied a request by Zagorski and other Tennessee death row inmates over the state’s mix of lethal drugs, which have led to some flawed executions in recent years.
Lethal injection is the preferred method of putting people to death in all U.S. states that have the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The DPIC shows that since 1976, 88 percent of the nearly 1,500 people executed have died by lethal injection and 11 percent by electrocution. Less than 1 percent have been killed by lethal gas, firing squad and hanging.
The last time Tennessee used its electric chair was 2007.
Zagorski’s attorneys in a lawsuit filed in federal District Court on Friday argued that the electric chair, “while better than lethal injection … is still utterly barbaric,” saying that it violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Despite the controversies over lethal injection, Deborah Denno, a professor at Fordham University School of Law, told HeadlineNews, “I don’t see a resurgence in use of the electric chair. I don’t see states going back to that.”
For his last meal, Zagorski chose pickled pig knuckles and pig tails, Tennessee corrections officials said on Wednesday.
In a 1984 trial, prosecutors said Zagorski lured John Dotson and Jimmy Porter into a wooded area in Robertson County under the pretense of a drug deal. But once the men were in the woods, Zagorski shot them both, slit their throats and stole their cash, court records show.
Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; editing by Bill Tarrant