Inmate Has 2 Last Words Before Electric Chair

Edmund Zagorski chose an unusual final meal
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2018 1:22 AM CDT
Updated Nov 2, 2018 6:51 AM CDT
Witnesses, including family members of the victims, leave the execution of Edmund Zagorski, 63, at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn.   (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP)
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(Newser) – Double murderer Edmund Zagorski was executed by electric chair Thursday night after the US Supreme Court denied an appeal that argued forcing him to choose between electrocution and lethal injection was unconstitutional. Witnesses say the 63-year-old inmate's final words before the execution were "Let's rock," NBC reports. They say he grinned at times while he was strapped down and a sponge soaked in salt water was placed on his head, reports the AP. His face shrouded in a black cloth, he clenched his fists as the first jolt of 1,750 volts was sent through his body for 20 seconds. After a second jolt that lasted 15 seconds, Zagorski was pronounced dead at 7:26pm.

Zagorski—who chose pickled pig knuckles and tails as his final meal—was the first inmate to be executed by electric chair in Tennessee since 2007 and the first in the US since 2013. He was sentenced to death for the April 1983 murders of John Dotson and Jimmy Porter. Prosecutors said Zagorski shot the men, slit their throats, and stole their money after they went to him to buy marijuana. During his murder trial in 1984, he told defense lawyers he wanted the death penalty and banned them from contacting his family, the Tennessean reports. His attorney, Kelley Henry, says she tried to smile as the shroud was put over his head because he said he wanted her smiling face to be the last thing he saw. During the execution, she says, Zagorski pulled against the straps so hard his pinkies were broken. (The man who built Tennessee's electric chair had concerns about the execution.)

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