A convicted murderer in the US has become the second person to be executed in the electric chair in a month, joining a growing number of inmates choosing the method over lethal injection.
David Earl Miller was one of four death row inmates in Tennessee this year to choose electrocution, as the number of botched lethal injections increases.
Miller was sentenced to death in May 1981 for the murder of a mentally disabled 23-year-old, he had spent 36 years living on death row, more than any living Tennessee inmate.
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According to the BBC, Tennessee department of correction speaker Tylee Tracer said Miller’s last words were: “Beats being on death row”.
Lethal injection is the state's main method of execution, however Tennessee inmates who were convicted before 1999 can choose the electric chair instead.
Miller and inmate Edmund Zagorski, who was electrocuted earlier this month, “cited the botched injection of Billy Ray Irick as their reason for choosing electrocution”, says Vox.
In 2009, European pharmaceutical companies “stopped supplying lethal injection drugs to the US. Since then, the US Department of Corrections has relied on a cheap alternative three-drug cocktail”, reports The New York Times. The sedative portion of the cocktail, midazolam, has failed to sedate 7.1 per cent of 1,000 prisoners who received this injection, including most recently Irick.
Irick was executed on 9 August for a 1985 rape and murder and was the first to receive midazolam in Tennessee. The inmate did not respond well to the drug, and instead was reported to have suffered excruciating pain as he died.
“He made a sound, like a choked gasp, and strained against the restraints. Then a movement with his head, then nothing”, reporter Steven Hale, a witness to the execution, told the Washington Post.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has scheduled four executions for 2019 and two more for 2020.
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