Death by lethal injection or death by electrocution was, for Edmund George Zagorski, the last major life decision he would make.
He was 63 years old when he was executed Nov.1 by electric chair for the murder of John Dotson and Jimmy Porter over a sale of 100 pounds of marijuana in l983.
Zagorski shot, stabbed and robbed Dotson and Porter, then stole their truck. The two men died at the scene.
Zagorski chose electrocution because he knew experts were speaking out against lethal injection, believing it caused cruel suffering prior to death.
He wanted to avoid what medical experts were calling “torture” of the condemned, as reported in the Nashville Tennessean.
He was part of a group of 32 Death Row offenders who sued the state of Tennessee over its use of lethal injection. The court decided against them in a 4-1 ruling.
They cited the pain-filled, torturous lethal injection death experience of Billy Ray Irick, as characterized by doctors who reviewed his Aug. 9, 2018 execution. With Irick’s death, experts said the drug midazolam did not render him unconscious before the other drugs began shutting his body down, as was intended.
The doctor who reviewed Irick’s death said the execution caused great pain and feelings of “…drowning and burning alive.” U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor said, “Capital prisoners …are entitled to humane deaths. The longer we stand silent amid growing evidence of inhumanity in execution methods like Tennessee’s, the longer we extend our own complicity in state sponsored brutality.”
Zagorski was the 134th person the state of Tennessee put to death since 1916, the second execution in Tennessee in 2018 and the first electrocution in that state since 2007.
His last words were, “First of all I want to make it very clear I have no hard feelings…Let’s rock.”
Zagorski spent 34 years on Death Row.
John Dotson’s widow, Marsha Dotson, said, “I’ve come to realize that it’s not my place to condemn somebody, to let them die.”