"Old Sparky" Officially Retired, Now on Public Display at Prison Museum

January 26, 2004 - Posted at 4:28 p.m. CDT

TUCKER, AR - Arkansas' electric chair is officially obsolete and is now on display at the state prison museum in Tucker.

Convicted murderer Charles Singleton was the last inmate eligible for death by electrocution, but chose lethal injection instead.  He was executed January sixth.

A 1983 legislative act made lethal injection the state's method of execution.  Those sentenced before that date were given the choice of methods.

Singleton's decision to die by lethal injection gives John Edward Swindler the distinction as the last Arkansan to die in the electric chair.  He was executed June 18, 1990, after refusing to decide.  He was electrocuted through default.

The state has put 195 inmates to death since 1913, 169 of them in "Old Sparky," the state's original electric chair that was later replaced.  "Old Sparky" is the chair that's on display.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)