“For several years, as most of you know, South Carolina has not been able to carry out executions,” state Sen. Greg Hembree, a co-sponsor of the bill, told the Senate floor. “Families are waiting. Victims are waiting. … The state is waiting.”
The new bill allows for executions to be carried out by either firing squad or by the electric chair. The electric chair is ready to use and prison officials have been doing preliminary research into how firing squads
“I have signed legislation into law that will allow the state to carry out a death sentence,” the Republican governor said. “The families and loved ones of victims are owed closure and justice by law. Now, we can provide it.”
It is currently unclear when executions can resume in the state. The electric chair is ready to use and prison officials have been doing preliminary research into how firing squads carry out executions in other states, but they are not sure how long it will take to have one in place in South Carolina.
Other states that allow a firing squad are Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Utah, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
South Carolina has been unable to purchase lethal injection drugs for about five years, as pharmaceuticals companies seek to limit how the product is used. As a result, three scheduled executions so far have been pushed back.
To date, there are 37 inmates on death row in the state. The last person executed in South Carolina was Jeffrey Motts, who died by lethal injection in May 2011. Motts was sentenced to death after murdering his cellmate while already serving a life sentence for fatally shooting two elderly people during a robbery.
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