‘Let’s rock’: The last words of a double-murderer who chose the electric chair over lethal injection


“Let’s rock,” he said from a death chamber within Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.

Those were Edmund Zagorski’s final words before the jolts of electrical current shot through his body. His hands remained clenched, except for his pinkie fingers. They were either dislocated or broken, his attorney would later say, from straining against the straps of the electric chair in which Zagorski, 63, died Thursday at 7:26 p.m. local time.

The state put the double-murderer to death by electrocution, spurning lethal injection at his request. His death made him the first inmate in five years to perish in the electric chair — and only the second in Tennessee since 1960. Daryl Holton, a Persian Gulf War veteran who killed his four children in a marital dispute, chose the electric chair in 2007.

Tennessee is among a handful of states where the electric chair is still an option in executions. Prisoners who committed their crimes before 1999 may choose to die by electrical voltage instead of a cocktail of drugs. Meanwhile, 30 states allow some form of capital punishment. One of them is Pennsylvania, where federal prosecutors have begun the process of seeking a possible death sentence against Robert Bowers, the man accused of gunning down 11 congregants in a Pittsburgh synagogue, should he be convicted on certain charges.

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