Last Words Before Execution: 'Beats Being on Death Row'

Tennessee executes longest-serving condemned man
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2018 3:37 AM CST

(Newser) – Tennessee executed its longest-serving death row inmate Thursday night—and after 36 years as a condemned man, David Earl Miller was apparently ready to die. The Tennessean reports that the 61-year-old's last words after he was strapped into the electric chair were initially inaudible. After the warden asked him to repeat himself, he said: "Beats being on death row." Miller was sentenced to die for the horrifically brutal 1981 murder of 23-year-old Lee Standifer, a mentally disabled woman he was on a first date with in Knoxville, Fox reports. Prosecutors said he beat and stabbed the young woman to death with a fire poker, driving it in so deep that officials said he must have used a hammer.

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There was no sign of breathing after the first jolt of electricity. He was pronounced dead after a second jolt. "Justice, long delayed, has now been served," Lt. Gov. Randy McNally said in a statement. "It is my solemn hope the family of Lee Standifer can now be at peace." Miller, the third Tennessee inmate to be executed by electric chair since 1960, chose the chair over lethal injection, as Tennessee inmates who committed their crimes before 1999 are permitted to do, the AP reports. Edmund Zagorski was executed in the chair last month. Miller had sought to be executed by firing squad, but his appeal on the grounds that both the electric chair and lethal injection are unconstitutional was rejected by the US Supreme Court. (Before Zagorski's execution, the electric chair's maker warned it could malfunction.)

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