Tennessee's top correctional official says there was “no issue” during the state's latest electrocution after witnesses reported seeing smoke above the inmate's head during the execution.
Correction Commissioner Tony Parker told The Associated Press on Wednesday that there was no smoke during the execution of the 53-year-old Lee Hall.
Hall was put to death by electric chair Dec. 5 at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in front of witnesses, including his victim's family.
Witnesses said Hall was given two jolts of electricity starting at 8:18 p.m. ET after being soaked with water. After the second, they said they saw his head sagging to the side.
His body raised up, his hands clenched into fists. That jolt went for about twenty seconds and then his whole body relaxed and he sagged into the chair," witness and WRCB reporter Claudia Coco said.
Coco and other witnesses all reported seeing something that appeared to be smoke coming from the right side of his head both times.
A few minutes after the second jolt, Hall was pronounced dead.
Parker says it was not smoke the witnesses noted, but steam that hovered during the Dec. 5 electrocution.
Gov. Bill Lee says he's confident in the correction agency's conclusion that Hall's execution went as designed.
Hall was sentenced to death after being convicted in the 1991 death of his estranged girlfriend, Traci Crozier.