Double-Murderer Faces Oct. 11 Execution: A Tennessee man who brutally murdered two people in 1983 is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection next Thursday. Dave Boucher of the Tennessean reports that Edmund Zagorski’s execution has been delayed before, but this time his plea to the Governor and court petitions are unlikely to spare him. The crime occurred in HIckman County, Tennessee when a tavern owner and a friend followed Zagorski into the woods to buy 100 lbs. of marijuana he claimed to have hidden. After Zagorski shot both victims and slit their throats, robbed them and stole one victim’s new truck, he fled to Ohio, where he injured several officers during a shootout with police. His lawyer claims that after his arrest, Zagorski was deprived of an attorney during initial questioning, subjected to brutal living conditions, and has rehabilitated himself. It will be Tennessee’s second execution in almost ten years.
How can it take 34 years to execute a killer condemned to death by trial? You’d want all possible appeals for which there is a genuine basis to believe the trial court might have done something wrong or failed to do something it should have done. But 34 years?
There are 59 others on death row in Tennessee, some almost as long as Zigorski.
This is not to single out Tennessee. The scene in other states is similar. In California it’s much worse, with 747 inmates on Death Row. The activists who hold up executions long after all legitimate appeals have been exhausted can’t possibly believe they are helping anyone, certainly not the inmates who spend years or decades in tiny cells isolated from the general prison population. They believe the death penalty is cruel. Murder is cruel. Sitting on your can in a tiny cell for 34 years is cruel also.
I don’t believe the death penalty is cruel for aggravated murders, as that is ordinarily defined. I’m skeptical that death penalty activists really believe the death penalty is cruel. I think a lot of virtue signaling, grandstanding, moralizing and posing is what is really going on. Once it’s clear the guy is guilty and got a fair trial he should be mercifully allowed to part this life, which he will do with a lot more grace and dignity than he gave his victims.