South Carolina court pauses executions until firing squad option made available

The South Carolina Supreme Court did not permit the planned execution of two inmates by electric chair on Wednesday, arguing they could not be put to death until they are given a proper choice of a firing squad option under the state's revised capital punishment law.

The court's decision comes nearly a month after Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed a bill into law forcing death row inmates to choose between death by electrocution or firing squad.

The pause will push back the execution of Brad Sigmon, an inmate who had been scheduled for execution on Friday. His attorneys successfully petitioned for the court to delay his execution on account that he only had one method available, electrocution.

SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR SIGNS LAW FORCING DEATH ROW INMATES TO CHOOSE ELECTRIC CHAIR OF FIRING SQUAD

Sigmon was convicted in 2002 of murdering his ex-girlfriend's parents with a baseball bat. The other inmate whose execution has been delayed is Freddie Owens, who killed a merchant at a convenience store and has been on death row since 1999. He was slated to be executed on June 25.

South Carolina has not performed an execution of an inmate in 10 years due to a shortage of drugs needed to perform lethal injections. The Palmetto State revised its death penalty laws last month to allow the choice between firing squad or electrocution as lethal injection drugs are considered scarce and costly.

“The department is moving ahead with creating policies and procedures for a firing squad,” Chrysti Shain, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Corrections, said in a statement Wednesday. “We are looking to other states for guidance through this process. We will notify the court when a firing squad becomes an option for executions.”

The department said it had researched other states that use firing squads as an execution method, such as Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Utah.

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The Washington Examiner contacted the South Carolina Department of Corrections but did not immediately receive a response.

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Tags: News, South Carolina, Death Penalty, death

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: South Carolina court pauses executions until firing squad option made available