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The U.S. Supreme Court rejected two last-ditch efforts to save the life of Tennessee death row inmate Edmund Zagorski, apparently clearing the way for his execution despite a delay caused by legal wrangling.
The court rejected a challenge of Tennessee's lethal injection protocol and lifted a stay of execution ordered by a lower court because of inadequate counsel.
Court - Rulings - Thursday - Night - Time
The court issued the rulings Thursday night around the time Zagorski's execution had been scheduled.
But earlier in the day, Governor Bill Haslam granted a 10-day reprieve to give the state time to prepare for an execution by electric chair.
Options - Attorneys - Wake - Decisions - Court
It was not immediately clear what options Zagorski's attorneys have in the wake of the decisions by the court and the governor.
'We are reviewing the court's opinion and will assess what options we have,' his lawyer, Kelley Henry, wrote in an email.
Zagorski - Chair - Week - Injection - Cruel
Zagorski had asked to die in the electric chair earlier in the week, instead of lethal injection, which he argued was cruel and unusual punishment and therefore unconstitutional.
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 - Slayings - Men - Drug - Deal
Zagorski was sentenced in 1984 for the slayings of two men during a drug deal.
Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer dissented from the majority's decision not to stay the execution, with Sotomayor writing that those sentenced to die 'are not entitled to pleasant deaths under the Eighth Amendment, but they are entitled to humane deaths.'
Evidence - Inhumanity - Execution - Methods - Tennessee
'The longer we stand silent amid growing evidence of inhumanity in execution methods like Tennessee's, the longer we extend our own complicity in state-sponsored brutality,' Sotomayor wrote.
Zagorski had been set to be executed at 7pm on Thursday, but that was halted after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday granted a stay...
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