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Tennessee electrocutes second inmate in 2 months


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee inmate turned the second particular person to die within the state’s electrical chair in simply over a month Thursday, almost 20 years after Tennessee adopted deadly injection as its most popular methodology of execution.

David Earl Miller, 61, was pronounced useless at 7:25 p.m. at a Nashville maximum-security jail.

Miller was convicted of killing 23-year-old Lee Standifer in 1981 in Knoxville and had been on loss of life row for 36 years, the longest of any inmate in Tennessee.

At 7:12 p.m. and after Miller had been strapped into the chair, Tennessee Division of Correction officers raised a blind that had coated the home windows to a witness room. Miller seemed straight forward, his eyes seemingly unfocused and his face expressionless.

Warden Tony Mays requested Miller if he had any final phrases. He spoke however his phrases had been unintelligible. Mays requested him to repeat himself, and his phrases had been nonetheless obscure, however his legal professional, Stephen Kissinger, mentioned he understood them to be, “Beats being on loss of life row.”

Officers then positioned a big damp sponge on Miller’s shaved head to assist conduct the present earlier than strapping a cap to his head. Water ran down Miller’s face and was toweled off by an officer. Miller seemed down and didn’t look again up earlier than officers positioned a shroud over his face.

After somebody linked {an electrical} cable to the chair, Miller’s physique stiffened as the primary jolt of present hit him. His physique then relaxed earlier than a second jolt got here lower than a minute later. Once more, Miller’s physique stiffened after which relaxed. The blinds had been pulled down and an announcement of the time of loss of life came visiting an intercom.

No witnesses from both Miller’s household or Standifer’s had been current for the execution, however Division of Correction spokeswoman Neysa Taylor learn a short assertion from a girl from Ohio who didn’t need her title given.

Taylor learn, “After a protracted line of victims he has left, it’s time to be achieved. It’s time for him to pay for what he has achieved to Lee.”

Miller had been on a date with Standifer, who had psychological disabilities, and the 2 had been seen collectively round city the night of Might 20, 1981. The younger girl’s physique was discovered crushed and stabbed the subsequent day within the yard of the house the place Miller had been residing.

Earlier on Thursday, Gov. Invoice Haslam refused Miller’s request to commute his sentence to life in jail. Miller’s petition for clemency mentioned Miller had been bodily abused as a toddler by his stepfather and had been bodily and sexually abused by his mom. The petition argued that proof of the trauma and psychological sickness it induced ought to have been introduced to a jury.

Assistant Federal Group Defender Kissinger spoke briefly after the execution.

“(Miller) cared deeply for Lee Standifer, and he or she can be alive at the moment if it weren’t for a sadistic stepfather and a mom who violated each belief {that a} son ought to have,” Kissinger mentioned.

Each Miller and inmate Edmund Zagorski earlier than him selected the electrical chair over deadly injection, a course of proponents mentioned can be painless and humane.

However the inmates argued in courtroom that Tennessee’s present midazolam-based methodology causes a protracted and torturous loss of life. They pointed to the August execution of Billy Ray Irick, which took round 20 minutes and through which he coughed and huffed earlier than turning a darkish purple.

Their case was thrown out, largely as a result of a choose mentioned they did not show a extra humane different was obtainable. Zagorski was executed Nov. 1.

In current a long time, states have moved away from the electrical chair, and no state now makes use of electrocution as its fundamental execution methodology, mentioned Robert Dunham. Dunham is the manager director of the Demise Penalty Data Heart, which does not take a stand on the loss of life penalty however is essential of its software.

Georgia and Nebraska courts each have dominated the electrical chair unconstitutional, and about 20 years in the past it seemed as if the U.S. Supreme Courtroom would weigh in on the problem. It agreed to listen to a case out of Florida after a collection of botched executions there. However Florida adopted deadly injection, and the case was dropped.

Dunham mentioned he wasn’t conscious of any state aside from Tennessee the place inmates had been selecting electrocution over deadly injection.

In Tennessee, inmates whose crimes had been dedicated earlier than 1999 can selected electrocution over deadly injection.

Previous to Zagorski’s execution, the builder of Tennessee’s electrical chair had warned that it might malfunction, however Zagorski’s and Miller’s executions gave the impression to be carried out with out incident. Miller’s loss of life was solely the third time Tennessee had put an inmate to loss of life within the electrical chair since 1960.

The courts mentioned Miller could not problem the constitutionality of the electrical chair as a result of he selected it, though his attorneys argued the selection was coerced by the specter of one thing even worse.

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