SC Supreme Court halts upcoming executions until firing squad method can be offered


FILE – This March 2019, file photo, provided by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows the state’s electric chair in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law last week a bill that would essentially restart the state’s stalled death penalty after a lack of lethal injection drugs has delayed several executions. The new law would let condemned inmates choose between the electric chair or a newly formed firing squad. (Kinard Lisbon/South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP, File)

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — According to court documents, the Supreme Court of South Carolina has halted two upcoming executions until death by firing squad can be offered to inmates.

Wednesday’s order from the Supreme Court comes just two days before Brad Sigmon was scheduled to be executed. His execution would have been the first held in South Carolina since 2011.

Justices vacated the execution notice because electrocution is the only method available right now.

They wrote in the order, “We further direct the Clerk of this Court not to issue another execution notice until the State notifies the Court that the Department of Corrections, in addition to maintaining the availability of electrocution, has developed and implemented appropriate protocols and policies to carry out executions by firing squad.”

A new law enacted last month gives death row inmates the ability to choose between electrocution or death by firing squad if lethal injection is unavailable.

The state Department of Corrections said in a statement, “We have received the order from the S.C. Supreme Court halting the upcoming executions. The department is moving ahead with creating policies and procedures for a firing squad. 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.”

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