TENNESSEE (USA): EDMUND ZAGORSKI EXECUTED BY ELECTRIC CHAIR
November 2, 2018:
Edmund Zagorski was executed on November 1st, 2018. (Source: The Marshall Project, 01/11/2018)
Two minutes before the execution was set to begin at 7 p.m., the U.S. Supreme Court denied an appeal from Zagorski on the grounds of the unconstitutionality of choosing between the electric chair and lethal injection.
Zagorski sat in the wired chair as prison staff placed a wet sponge that had been soaked in saline solution, and metal helmet on his freshly shaved head.
Zagorski raised his eyebrows, appearing to be communicating to his attorney, Kelley Henry.
She said Zagorski smiled, to encourage her to smile back. Then his head was covered with a black shroud so the witnesses couldn't see his face as electricity jolted through his body. The warden gave the signal to proceed. Zagorski lifted his right hand several times in what looked like attempts at a wave, before he clenched his hands into fists as the first charge of 1,750 volts of electricity was sent through his body for 20 seconds. Henry said both pinkies appear to either be dislocated or broken due to the force with which he pulled against the straps. She also said there were signs that Zagorski was breathing during a short pause before the second jolt was administered for 15 seconds.
Edmund George Zagorski, 64, White, was sentenced to death in 1984 for the murders of John Dale Dotson and Jimmy Porter. Prosecutors argued that Zagorski lured the two men into the woods, promising to sell them 100 kilograms of marijuana, and then shot them, slit their throats, and took their money.
Before trial, Zagorski told his lawyers that if he was found guilty he'd prefer the death penalty, and he told them not to present any evidence that might persuade the jury to spare his life. His lawyers did not travel to his hometown in Michigan or investigate his family background beyond calling his mother. Once he was on death row, Zagorski decided to pursue appeals, arguing that police coerced him into confessing his involvement in the murder, and that prosecutors had withheld evidence that several other men were suspected of killing the victims. The families of Dotson and Porter have not spoken out in the media about their views. A new set of lawyers discovered that Zagorski's childhood was full of evidence that might have been submitted. His mother was impaired by a brain injury, he was exposed to drugs and alcohol at a young age, and this murder was his first conviction for a violent crime. But a series of judges decided that his original lawyers weren't ineffective, since Zagorski initially told them not to pursue this information.
In 2010, a lawyer representing Zagorski pushed a British court to ban the export of execution drugs from Britain, further arguing that his treatment amounted to a violation of international human rights that British authorities should heed.
In 2014, he joined an American lawsuit by death row inmates contesting Tennessee's attempt to use the electric chair for executions.
Zagorski was the 2nd person executed in Tennessee this year, the 8th since Tennessee resumed executions in 2000, the 20th person executed in the USA this year, and the n° 1.485 since US resumed executions in 1977.
Zagorski was the 159th person executed by electrocution.