A death row inmate in Tennessee has been given additional time to decide whether he will die by electric chair or lethal injection.

State lawyers extended the deadline for David Earl Miller to decide as a result of a legal challenge in which he and three other inmates asked to die by firing squad.

Tennessee inmates whose crimes occurred before 1999 can choose lethal injection or the electric chair, but the state does not allow being shot to death.

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The 61-year-old’s lawyers argued the electric chair was “sure or very likely to inflict a gruesome and torturous death”.

“The firing squad significantly reduces a substantial risk of unnecessary and severe pain” compared with the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections, the lawsuit added.

Miller’s request, in which he also asked for the execution to be stopped, was refused.

Only three states — Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah — still allow the use of firing squads, although lethal injection remains their primary execution method.

Miller, who is Tennesee’s longest-serving death row inmate, was handed the death penalty for the 1981 rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman with learning disabilities in Knoxville. He is scheduled to die on December 6.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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