CM – South Carolina is the fourth state to approve firing squads


Death row inmates in South Carolina must now decide under a newly signed law whether to be executed with an electric chair or a firing squad.

Under the new law, signed by Governor Henry McMaster on Friday, remains lethal injection is the state’s primary method of execution. However, inmates will be forced to choose between the electric chair or the firing squad when drugs are not available.

The state’s last execution was in May 2011, but the deadly injection drug batch expired in 2013, causing three inmates to suspend executions on appeal, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. South Carolina was fourth State that allowed firing squads and joined Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah. All four have retained lethal injection as the primary method of execution, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

It is unclear when a convicted inmate in South Carolina can be executed by a firing squad, a Justice Department spokeswoman told The State, adding, that officials are still ready to carry out the death penalty with an electric chair.

In the absence of a system for carrying out executions by firing squads, the agency will seek assistance from other states, spokeswoman Chrysti Shain said on Monday > « We would seek advice from other states and courts on what is considered constitutional, » Shain told the newspaper.

There is no schedule when such an execution would take place, Shain said. The South Carolina attorney general is expecting new execution notices to be served to inmates that will restart their sentences, the report said.

South Carolina is one of eight states that still use the electric chair Use executions. That method remains operational in Palmetto State, Shain said.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, South Carolina had 39 inmates on death row as of October. Meanwhile, some lawyers for the convicted inmates said the state was going in the wrong direction with the new law.

« These are execution methods that have previously been replaced by lethal injection that is believed to be more humane. South Carolina is the only one State that stems from less humane execution methods, « said Lindsey Vann of Justice 360, a nonprofit group that represents many of the men on the state’s death row.

Only three inmates, all in Utah, were killed by firing squad , since the US reintroduced the death penalty in 1977.

McMaster, a Republican, signed the bill after the South Carolina House passed it earlier this month. The Senate approved the legislation in March, and McMaster later said he intended to sign it.

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