David Earl Miller executed by electric chair

Posted at 5:17 AM, Dec 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-07 13:37:37-05

Death row inmate, 61-year-old David Earl Miller was executed tonight by the electric chair. He was pronounced dead at 7:25 p.m.

The warden asked for any last words and Miller said something that was unintelligible. He was asked to repeat it and it is believed he said 'beats being on death row.'

Miller was convicted of killing 23-year-old Lee Standifer, who was mentally disabled, in Knoxville in 1981.

Lee Standifer

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David Earl Miller
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A man Miller was living with found Standifer's body naked in the yard with her hands bound and roped wrapped around her body. She had been beaten and stabbed multiple times with a fire poker.

Through the years, two trials were held and in both, Miller was convicted of first degree murder.

Miller is the second Tennessee inmate in just more than a month to choose the electric chair. His attorneys argued that the state's lethal injection method causes a prolonged and torturous death.

Governor Haslam declined Miller's clemency application, in which his attorney claimed Miller had been suffering from “severe mental illness” at the time of his crime, and that his mental state places him “far outside that group of offenders who are the worst and for whom the death penalty is reserved.”

Less than two hours before Miller was executed, the U.S. Supreme Court denied to grant him a stay of execution.  Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented from the court’s decision, saying she would have given Miller a stay. 

Sotomayor — who also dissented from the high court’s rulings regarding Tennessee’s two other death row inmates executed this year — was critical of an earlier Supreme Court ruling requiring inmates themselves to find an available alternative to lethal injection in order to challenge it.  

In her dissent, Sotomayor said that court decision is a reason why Tennessee’s death row inmates are now choosing the electric chair instead.  

Sotomayor concluded in her dissent: “Such madness should not continue.”

The inmate was moved to death watch Wednesday and served his requested last meal Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m.