A Tennessee death row inmate has been released from prison today after two attempts to execute him have failed. Peter Farmington was convicted of 3 counts of murder in the first degree when he pled guilty to murdering his wife and their two young children in March of 2006.
The prison warden, Joseph Goldsmith, called Farmington’s survival “a divine intervention.”
“We have two methods of execution in the state of Tennessee.” said Goldsmith. “It is has always been our tradition to let the inmate choose how they want to go. Mr. Farmington is the first person to try their hand at both options. We are taking it as a sign from God that this man is just not meant to die.”
Farmington had his first execution scheduled in late 2013 via lethal injection. At that time, his body did not react to the sodium thiopental, which is the first in a series of three drugs given to someone being executed. Sodium thiopental is designed to render a person unconscious before they inject bromide, which causes paralysis, and finally potassium chloride, which induces cardiac arrest.
Dr. Robert Liston was the medical examiner on staff for the state prison during Farmington’s first execution.
“I have never seen anything like it in all my years as a medical doctor.” Said Liston. “Sodium thiopental is not something someone can generally be ‘immune’ to, but Farmington’s body did not react. The drug should have hit him within 30 seconds. We waited over ten minutes, then dosed him again. Nothing.”
Doctors and prison staff had no choice but to postpone the execution, and the governor granted temporary reprieve for Farmington, giving him another six months on death row, while he awaited his second execution date.
Last week, the prison again tried to execute Farmington, this time via electric chair.
“Farmington chose to not go through lethal injection a second time, and opted for electrocution.” Said Goldsmith. “We hadn’t fired up ol’ sparky since 2007, but it was his choice and we honored it.”
Prison officials were stunned when, for a second time, Farmington was spared death, this time when the electric chair failed to operate.
“We threw those switches, and on the third flip, you’re supposed to see sparks fly, but we saw nothing.” Said Goldsmith. “We got Farmington out of the chair, hooked everything back up, fired it up, and it worked like a charm. We didn’t even try putting him back in again.”
Per federal law, Farmington was immediately released from prison, as any inmate who survives his execution twice is automatically allowed a full pardon.
“We wish Farmington all the best in his new life outside prison walls.” Said Governor Bill Haslam as he signed Farmington’s release forms. “This man may be a bloodthirsty, violent individual, but some higher power has given him a second chance at life. We certainly hope he uses it for something better this time around.”
Attorneys for Farmington could not be reached for comment.