The Latest: Appeals court stays Tennessee inmate’s execution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the legal battle over the upcoming execution of Tennessee inmate Edmund Zagorski (all times local):

6 p.m.

A federal appeals court has stayed the execution of Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski to allow time for consideration of arguments that he had poor legal representation during his trial and sentencing.

In a split 2-1 decision, a panel of the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals halted Zagorski’s execution, which had been scheduled for Thursday. Execution plans remain on hold while the court resolves questions of whether Zagorski had adequate representation. They set no immediate timeline for deciding the case.

Zagorski’s lawyer had argued on a separate track that the state’s lethal injection method of execution was unconstitutional. Zagorski asked earlier in the week to be executed by electrocution, but the state had refused because it said he did not make the request in a timely manner.

Zagorski was convicted of the 1983 murder of two men in a drug deal.


2:30 p.m.

Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski is forgoing his final meal before Thursday’s scheduled execution.

The Tennessee Department of Correction announced Wednesday that Zagorski’s meal will be the same as provided to other inmates at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution should he change his mind.

Death row inmates are allowed $20 for a special meal before they’re executed. In August, death row inmate Billy Ray Irick chose a combo that included a super deluxe burger, onion rings and a Pepsi.

Thursday’s dinner will consist of sloppy joes, a wheat roll, pinto beans, cole slaw, a sugar cookie, and ice tea.


1:15 p.m.

Attorneys for Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski are asking a federal court to force the state to use the electric chair to execute him, rather than lethal injection.

Zagorski is part of an ongoing lawsuit that asks the courts to find Tennessee’s three-drug injection protocol unconstitutional. They argue lethal injection will leave Zagorski unable to cry out as he experiences suffocation and chemical burning.

Zagorski is scheduled to be executed Thursday for the 1983 murder of two people during a drug deal. On Monday, he requested to die by electrocution. The state has denied that request, saying he acted too late.

On Wednesday, Zagorski’s attorneys filed a motion with the federal court in Nashville asking it to intervene. They also have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay.


10:30 a.m.

According to a letter from a state attorney, the state of Tennessee is refusing a death row inmate’s request to die by electrocution because his request came too late and because the affidavit he signed was altered.

Edmund Zagorski is scheduled to die by lethal injection Thursday for the murder of two men in 1983. His attorneys have challenged the constitutionality of Tennessee’s current three-drug protocol and are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.

In the meantime, Zagorski requested on Monday that he be executed by electric chair. His attorney, Kelley Henry, said he believes it will be quicker and less painful. An addition to the affidavit states that Zagorski’s does not concede that electrocution is constitutional.

On Wednesday Henry said she was considering options.


This story has been corrected to show appeals court panel did not return case to lower court but instead will consider legal issues later.

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