David Earl Miller elects to be executed by the electric chair

Posted at 2:04 PM, Nov 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 17:53:12-05

In a filing with a Nashville federal district court Monday, the state of Tennessee said that David Earl Miller, the next Tennessee death row inmate scheduled to be executed next Thursday, has elected to be executed with the electric chair, instead of lethal injection. 

In the filing, attorneys for the state say that, “Miller had presented a signed document to officials at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution on November 23, 2018, which states, ‘I waive lethal injection and wish to be electrocution [sic].’” 

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The move comes as several federal legal filings from Tennessee's death row inmates seek to challenge the constitutionality of both lethal injection and the electric chair, even though state and federal courts have upheld both methods Tennessee uses to execute inmates.

Lethal injection is the state’s default method of execution, but attorneys for the death row inmates have cast doubt over the effectiveness of Midazolam — the sedative used in Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, which they say could lead to a torturous death.

If the electrocution moves forward as scheduled, Miller will be the second death row inmate executed by the electric chair in Tennessee in as many months.  Edmund Zagorski was the first person executed in Tennessee’s electric chair since 2007. 

Under Tennessee law, a death row inmate who committed their crimes before 1999 can elect if they'd prefer to be executed with the electric chair, rather than lethal injection.

Miller is scheduled to die for the 1981 murder of 23-year-old Lee Standifer in Knoxville.