Tennessee set to execute convicted murderer by electric chair

Tennessee set to execute convicted murderer by electric chair
Tennessee set to execute convicted murderer by electric chair

By Suzannah Gonzales

(Reuters) - Tennessee prepared to execute by electric chair on Thursday a convicted murderer who has spent more than 36 years on death row, the second time in five weeks the state has used electrocution to carry out a death sentence.

David Miller, now 61, was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1981 killing of Lee Standifer, a 23-year-old woman. Miller has been on death row since March 1982.

Edmund Zagorski, a convicted double murderer, was executed by electric chair on Nov. 1, the first time Tennessee had used electrocution since 2007.

Miller is scheduled to die at 7 p.m. CST on Thursday (0100 GMT Friday).

The U.S. Supreme Court over an hour earlier rejected his final appeals. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from that opinion as she did when the Supreme Court rejected Zagorski's final appeals.

"Such madness should not continue. Respectfully, I dissent," Sotomayor wrote in the Miller opinion.

Miller requested clemency, but Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declined to intervene, the governor's office said in a statement on Thursday.

For his last meal, Miller chose fried chicken, mashed potatoes, biscuits and coffee.

Miller elected to be executed by electrocution because he believed it would be less painful than lethal injection, according to court documents.

The U.S. Supreme Court in October denied a challenge by Tennessee death row inmates to 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 day after Zagorski's execution, Miller and three other Tennessee death row inmates filed another lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Nashville that argued the state's lethal injection and electrocution protocols violate the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit said a firing squad was a less-painful alternative.

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled against the inmates on Nov. 28 and said that a firing squad was an outmoded method of execution.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; editing by Sonya Hepinstall and G Crosse)

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