Attorneys for four inmates sentenced to death in Tennessee are asking a federal judge to allow them to choose a firing squad as an alternative to lethal injection or electric chair as a method of execution.
Among the inmates who filed the complaint is David Earl Miller, the next man to die in Tennessee for his crimes.
The execution of Miller, sentenced to death for the rape and murder in 1981 of Lee Standifer, 23, in Knoxville, is scheduled for December 6. He is the longest serving prisoner in Tennessee..
Miller's lawyers and three other death row inmates (Nicholas Todd Sutton, Stephen Michael West and Terry Lynn King) claim that the state's electric chair "most likely inflicts a dreadful and torturous death", as the state has not taken into account the difference in pain threshold between prisoners and the different amounts of current required to cause the loss of consciousness.
In addition, they claim that the state possesses firearms, ammunition and trained personnel necessary to carry out the execution of a firing squad. They argue that at the Big Buck range, on the grounds of the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution, it can "easily accommodate the little equipment that is required for execution by firing squad."
The lawsuit asks the court to postpone Miller's execution until the court can hear the case.
Miller, under the Tennessee protocol, will be asked to select his method of execution on Tuesday, 30 days before his execution date.
The suit was filed a day after 63-year-old Edmund Zagorski was executed for the electric chair for the murders of John Dotson and Jimmy Porter in Robertson County in 1983.
Before his death, Zagorski's lawyers filed multiple challenges to his execution.
The condemned was finally granted the right to choose the chair after his challenge to the lethal injection protocol with three drugs failed. His lawyers argued that death by electrocution would be faster, but argued that both methods are unconstitutional.
On August 9, the execution of Billy Ray Irick by lethal injection took at least 20 minutes to complete.
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