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Virginia conducts first US electric chair execution in over a year

[JURIST] Virginia authorities on Tuesday executed a prisoner by electric chair [JURIST news archive], conducting the country's first execution by electrocution in over a year. Former Army counterintelligence worker Larry Bill Elliott, who was convicted of a 2001 double murder, was executed Tuesday night after Virginia Governor Tim Kaine [official website] declined to intervene [press release]. The US Supreme Court [official website] had denied a request for a stay [order, PDF] on Monday. Virginia law allows condemned prisoners to choose lethal injection or electrocution.

The country's last execution by electric chair took place in South Carolina in June 2008. Virginia last executed a prisoner by electrocution [JURIST report] in 2006. In 2008, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that execution by electric chair is "cruel and unusual punishment" and is therefore unconstitutional. The electric chair remains an option in seven states, with two more allowing it only if lethal injection [JURIST news archive] is ruled unconstitutional.

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