Edmund Zagorski moved to death watch

Posted at 8:55 AM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 09:55:03-04

Edmund Zagorski has been moved to death watch ahead of Thursday’s scheduled execution. 

The Tennessee Department of Correction said Zagorski was moved Tuesday morning in accordance with death watch protocol – a three-day period in which strict guidelines are implemented to maintain security and control. 

During this time, Zagorski will remain in a cell adjacent to the execution chamber where he will be under 24-hour observation by a team of correctional officers. 

Only people who are on the offender’s official visitation list are allowed to visit him during this period.

On Monday, federal Middle Tennessee district judge Aleta Trauger said TDOC must provide Zagorski’s attorney, Kelley Henry, with “immediate access” to a telephone to communicate with courts or other officials. Other witnesses, including seven media witnesses, are barred from bringing in phones.

In issuing the order, Judge Trauger said Zagorski’s execution is expected to continue forward after TDOC installs the phone, saying “the phone installation will not prevent the state from carrying out the plaintiff’s sentence as scheduled.”

Neysa Taylor, a spokesperson for TDOC said state officials are reviewing the order to determine what next steps to take.

Zagorski’s attorney also argued that forcing Zagorski to choose between electrocution and lethal injection was unconstitutional, along with the electrocution method itself. Judge Trauger rejected those claims.

Zagorski is scheduled to be put to death by the electric chair shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday, in accordance with his wishes.