COLUMBIA, SC – South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has enacted a bill that currently requires death row inmates to choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad in the hope that the state can resume executions after an involuntary 10-year hiatus.
South Carolina had been one of the most prolific states of its size for killing inmates. But the lack of deadly injection drugs put an end to the executions.
McMaster signed the bill on Friday without ceremony or fanfare, according to the state legislature’s website. This is the first bill the governor decided to deal with after nearly 50 of them arrived at his office on Thursday.
State lawmakers last week gave final approval to the bill, which retains lethal injection as the primary method of execution if the state has the drugs, but requires prison officials to use the electric chair. or the firing squad if not.
If no selection is made, the electric chair is the default method of death under the new law.
Prosecutors said three inmates exhausted all their normal calls, but could not be killed because according to the previous law, inmates who did not automatically choose the 109-year-old state electric chair would automatically die by lethal injection. They all chose the method that cannot be implemented.
The date on which executions can begin is pending. The electric chair is ready for use. Prison officials have done some preliminary research into how firing squads carry out executions in other states, but aren’t sure how long it will take to put one in place in South Carolina. The other three states that allow firing squad are Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
According to the center.
Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing the new law, saying the state is backing down.
“These are methods of execution that were previously replaced by lethal injection, which is considered more humane, and this makes South Carolina the only state to revert to less humane methods of execution,” Lindsey said. Vann de Justice 360, a non-profit organization that represents many countries. men on South Carolina death row.
From 1996 to 2009, South Carolina executed almost three inmates on average per year. But a lull in death row inmates reaching the end of their appeals coincided years later with drug companies refusing to sell states needed drugs to calm inmates, relax their muscles and stop their hearts.
South Carolina’s last execution was in 2011, and its deadly injection drug batch expired in 2013.
Supporters of the bill have said the death penalty remains legal in South Carolina and the state owes the families of the victims to find a way to enforce the penalty.
Democrats in the House suggested several changes to the bill that were not approved, including live internet executions and requiring lawmakers to witness the executions.
“We have to be prepared to look at the faces of the people we are voting on today to kill,” said Rep. Jermaine Johnson, a Democrat from Hopkins.
Opponents also brought up the case of 14-year-old George Stinney, who was sent to South Carolina in an electric chair in 1944 after a day-long trial in the deaths of two white girls. He was the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century. A judge dismissed the black teen’s conviction in 2014.
Seven Republicans in the House voted against the bill, with most saying it made no moral sense to approve sending people to their deaths, while three months ago many of those same lawmakers have approved a bill banning almost all abortions, claiming that all life is sacred.
“If you’re cool with the electric chair, you might as well be cool to burn at the stake,” said Rep. Jonathon Hill, a Republican from Townville.