Actions

Attorney Recounts Last Execution By Electric Chair

David Raybin Represented Death Row Inmate
Posted: 6:53 PM, Oct 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-10 00:13:52Z

Attorneys for Edmund Zagorski revealed Monday night that the death row inmate would like to be executed by method of electric chair instead of lethal injection.

This comes after the Supreme Court of Tennessee announced that lethal injection, as it stands now in Tennessee, is constitutional. 

Zagorski, who is convicted of murdering two men during a drug deal by shooting them, then slitting their throats, is scheduled to be the first person executed by electric chair in Tennessee since 2007. 

Daryl Horton was executed by electric chair in 2007 after murdering his four children in 1997. 

While Horton did not file an appeal to try to stop the execution, he did have attorney David Raybin represent him during the execution process to make sure everything went according to the book. 

On Tuesday, NewsChannel 5 spoke to Raybin about the electric chair execution process. While there were media witnesses to the execution, Raybin was the only one who saw the behind-the-scenes and the steps leading up to the execution, other than employees of the state. 

"Electrocution in my view is barbaric. It's medieval. It's bizarre," Raybin said. 

Raybin is not against the death penalty. In fact, he helped draft the death penalty statute when he was a prosecutor in the seventies, but after he witnessed the death of Horton and everything that led up to it, he hoped no one else would ever have to go through that method of execution. 

Raybin hadn't met Horton until the night of his execution, and before the process began, he was able to chat with Horton to make sure he didn't want to file a last minute appeal, and to make sure he was in a right state of mind. 

Once they finished talking, the process started with Horton being transported from his cell to the death chamber.

According to Raybin, a group of men came into the death watch cell to put restraints on Horton. They were also there to carry Raybin to the death chamber if he would not cooperate, but Raybin said Horton willingly went to the death chamber, which was a decently long walk. 

Once in the room where his life would end, Raybin said that Horton had his restraints removed before being placed in the chair, and once again being restrained. 

"They put the sponges on his head and put water on them for the connectivity for the electrodes," Raybin recalled. 

According to Raybin, this was one of the worst parts of the execution, worse than the electrocution itself. 

"As they did all of this, the water was streaming down his face and onto his body from teh sponges on his head for the connectivity," Raybin said. "It just seemed so odd to see that, it seemed like the electric chair was weeping for it's victims." 

Raybin said Horton began hyperventilating and continued to do so until the more than 1,700 volts of electricity went through his body and killed him. 

"There is no good way to execute people, but what you don't want to have is a bizarre ceremony," Raybin said of the electric chair.

Raybin also said that he doesn't believe the way lethal injection is currently administered is humane. "You don't want to have lingering pain and things that can go wrong."

Raybin said he hopes that Tennessee and other states that have the death penalty can come up with a more humane solution than what is currently available. 

Raybin wrote about what he experienced the morning after the execution, you can find it on his Blog on his website