South Carolina prisoners choose firing squad on electric chair

Columbia, South Carolina (AP) — According to court documents filed Friday, South Carolina prisoners will be executed in the state for more than a decade and will be executed by firing squad instead of an electric chair later this month. I was sentenced.

Richard Bernard Moore57 was the first to face the choice of execution method last year after a law was enforced last year that defaulted to electrocution and gave prisoners the option to face three prison workers with rifles instead. State prisoner.

Moore has spent more than 20 years on death row after being convicted of the murder of convenience store clerk James Mahony in 1999 in Spartanberg. If executed on schedule on April 29, he will be the first to be sentenced to death in the state since 2011.

The new law was prompted by a decade-long break that authorities attributed to the inability to procure the medicines needed to carry out lethal injection.

Moore did not admit in writing whether either method was legal or constitutional, but strongly opposed electrocution and said he chose the firing squad because he had to make a choice.

In a statement, Moore said, “I think this election has forced us to choose between two execution methods that violate the Constitution. By holding the election, we will challenge the death penalty and firing squad. I’m not going to give up. “

Moore’s lawyer goes to state Supreme Court Delay his death On the other hand, another court has either method available. Cruel and unusual punishment.. Lawyers argue that prison officials have not made sufficient efforts to obtain deadly injections, instead forcing prisoners to choose between two more barbaric methods. ing.

His lawyer also asks the State Supreme Court to postpone the execution so that the US Supreme Court can consider whether Moore’s death sentence was a disproportionate punishment compared to similar crimes. A state judge dismissed a similar appeal last week.

The State Corrections Bureau completed the development of a firing squad protocol last month, completing a $ 53,600 refurbishment of the execution chamber in Colombia, with restraints facing a wall with a rectangular opening 15 feet (4.6 meters) away. He said he had installed a metal chair. In the case of firing squad execution, three volunteer prison workers train rifles in the minds of accused prisoners.

South Carolina is one of eight states that still use electric chairs and one of four states that allow firing squad, according to the Washington-based nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. ..

Moore is one of 35 men on death row in South Carolina. The state finally planned to execute Moore in 2020, but the execution was postponed because prison officials said no deadly injections were available.

During Moore’s 2001 trial, prosecutors said Moore entered the store in search of money to support the cocaine habit and was involved in a dispute with Mahony, who pulled a pistol from him. ..

Mahony pulled the gun in 2-chome and the shootout continued. Mahony shot Moore with his arm, and Moore shot Mahony with his chest. Prosecutors said Moore left a blood mark in the store while looking for cash and stepped over Mahoney twice.

At that time, Moore claimed that Mahony acted in self-defense after pulling his first gun.

Moore’s supporters argue that his crimes do not go up to the level of the death penalty. His attorney for appeal said Moore didn’t bring the gun to the store, so he didn’t intend to kill anyone when he entered.

Jeffrey Motz was the last to be executed in South Carolina. Jeffrey Motz was on death row for strangling Selmate while he was sentenced to life imprisonment for another murder.


Liu is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.