'Beats being on death row': Final words of US inmate who chose electric chair over lethal injection

David Harding
David Lee Miller (Tennessee Corrections Department)

A US death row inmate has become the second person to be executed in the electric chair in just over a month.

David Lee Miller, a murderer who killed a mentally disabled woman while on a date in 1981,  died at Nashville maximum security prison, Tennessee.

His last words were: ‘Beats being on death row.’

Miller, 61, had been on death row for 36 years, longer than anybody in Tennessee previously.

Sponges were applied to his head, then a shroud placed over Miller’s face before two jolts of electricity were administered.

The electric chair used in Miller’s execution (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

He was pronounced dead minutes later at 7:25pm local time on Thursday.

Miller is the second murderer to be executed with the electric chair in the past two months.

On November 1, Edmund Zagorski also chose the chair.

Protesters stood vigil outside the prison (AP)

The inmates argued in court that Tennessee’s current midazolam-based method causes a prolonged and torturous death.

They pointed to the August execution of Billy Ray Irick, which took around 20 minutes and during which he coughed and huffed before turning a dark purple.

However, their case was thrown out, largely because a judge said they failed to prove a more humane alternative was available.

In recent decades, states have moved away from the electric chair, and no state now uses electrocution as its main execution method, said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Centre, which does not take a stand on the death penalty but is critical of its application.

Mounted police outside the Tennessee prison (AP)

Georgia and Nebraska courts both have ruled the electric chair unconstitutional.

Mr Dunham said he was not aware of any state other than Tennessee where inmates were choosing electrocution over lethal injection.

In Tennessee, inmates whose crimes were committed before 1999 can chose electrocution over lethal injection.

Miller’s victim, Lee Standifer (AP)

The builder of Tennessee’s electric chair had warned it could malfunction before the executions but the state went ahead anyway.

Both execution’s appear to have been carried out without incident.

It was only the third time Tennessee had put an inmate to death in the electric chair since 1960.

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo UK