South Carolina Death Row Prisoner Chooses Firing Squad Over Electric Chair

Firing Squad Chair

A South Carolina prisoner scheduled to be the first man executed in the state in more than a decade has decided to die by firing squad rather than in the electric chair later this month, according to court documents filed on Friday.

Richard Moore, 57, is the also first state prisoner to face the choice of execution methods after a law went into effect last year making electrocution the default and giving inmates the option to face three prison workers with rifles instead.

Moore has spent more than two decades on death row after being convicted of the 1999 killing of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg. If executed as scheduled on 29 April, he would be the first person put to death in the state since 2011.

South Carolina’s electric chair

The Guardian

The Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, Bryan Stirling issued an affidavit on the case. In it he explained why the department is unable to lethally inject Moore,

“The Department’s efforts have included contacting manufacturers, all of which have refused to sell the drugs to the Department. The Department has also contacted various compounding pharmacists regarding compounding the drugs for the Department, but those efforts also have been unsuccessful. Additionally, the Department has attempted to purchase the bulk components for the drugs and have them compounded, and those efforts have likewise proven unsuccessful.”

Moore wrote a statement on his choice,

“I do not believe or concede that either the firing squad or electrocution is legal or constitutional. I do not believe the Department should be allowed to certify that a statutorily prescribed method, such as lethal injection, is unavailable without demonstrating a good faith effort to make it available. However, I more strongly oppose death by electrocution. Because the Department says I must choose between firing squad or electrocution or be executed by electrocution I will elect firing squad.”


A history of the electric chair in South Carolina. Greenville News

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