The Latest: US Supreme Court rules in Tennessee execution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on Thursday’s scheduled execution of Tennessee inmate Edmund Zagorski (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol and lifted a stay of execution ordered by a lower court because of inadequate counsel, clearing the way for the execution of Edmund Zagorski.

The court issued the orders Thursday around the time Zagorski’s execution had been scheduled. But earlier in the day, Gov. Bill Haslam granted a 10-day reprieve to prepare for an execution by electric chair.

Zagorski requested that method earlier this week, instead of lethal injection. The state denied the request, arguing that Zagorski missed the deadline, but hours before the scheduled execution, a federal judge blocked the state from using its three-drug cocktail.

Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 for the slayings of two men during a drug deal in Robertson County.

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4:40 p.m.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has granted a 10-day reprieve to death row inmate Edmund Zagorski.

Zagorski was scheduled to be executed Thursday evening, but legal challenges surrounding his case halted the execution after one federal court issued a temporary stay, while another blocked the state from using its preferred lethal injection method.

Haslam said Thursday that the reprieve will give the state enough time to prepare for an execution via electric chair, which Zagorski had requested earlier this week. The state had previously denied that request because they argued Zagorski missed the deadline.

However, a federal judge blocked the state from using its three-drug cocktail just hours before Zagorski was scheduled to die.

Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 for the slayings of two men during a drug deal in Robertson County.

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1:15 p.m.

A federal judge has ordered the state of Tennessee not to proceed with plans to execute Edmund Zagorski by lethal injection after it refused his request to die in the electric chair.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger granted a motion by Zagorksi’s attorney not to execute Zagorski Thursday by lethal injection.

Zagorski had asked to be executed by electrocution because he said the three-drug cocktail the state used constituted cruel and unusual punishment and violated his constitutional rights. That choice is permitted by Tennessee state law.

Trauger’s order is the second in two days to halt the effort to execute Zagorski, who was sentenced to die in 1984 for the killing of two men during a Robertson County drug deal. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late Wednesday that the execution couldn’t proceed until a challenge by Zagorski about his legal representation was resolved.

Both orders have been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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11 a.m.

Legal challenges continue to surround a Tennessee death row inmate whose execution has been temporarily halted.

Edmund Zagorski had been scheduled to be executed Thursday evening until the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay on Wednesday over questions of whether Zagorski had adequate representation.

In return, the state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to vacate the decision, arguing the federal appeals court disregarded Tennessee’s interest in enforcing “criminal judgments.”

However, even if the delay is overturned, other legal challenges are still pending before the Supreme Court seeking to halt both the timing and method of the execution.

Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 for the slayings of two men during a drug deal in Robertson County.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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