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This undated photo released by the Tennessee Department of Corrections, shows death row inmate Edmund Zagorski in Tenn. An attorney for Zagorski says his choice of death by electrocution over lethal injection is not a ploy to buy time. Kelley Henry announced Zagorski's decision Monday night, Oct. 8, 2018. He's scheduled to be executed Thursday, Oct. 11. (Tennessee Department of Corrections via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After four decades with only six executions, Tennessee is on schedule to execute three inmates this year alone.

Edmund Zagorski died in the electric chair on Thursday. Billy Ray Irick was put to death in August. A third execution is scheduled for December.

The surge comes as legal challenges to lethal injection hit a wall in Tennessee. Nationally, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have made it harder to challenge execution methods.

Robert Dunham directs the Death Penalty Information Center. He says states sometimes go on "execution sprees." But nationally the trend in executions is downward.

Dunham said one reason is, death sentences are down, 85 percent nationally since the 1990s.

Also, several states in recent years have either abolished capital punishment or imposed moratoriums.

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