South Carolina was a state that made good use of its death penalty law, until it was forced to take a 10-year break when lethal injection drugs became unavailable. But Governor Henry McMaster came up with a backwards workaround, signing into law on Friday a new bill that forces inmates to make a gruesome choice when there isn't access to lethal injection (which there still isn't): death by electric chair or death by firing squad.
But before the killings begin, South Carolina first has to learn how a firing squad works.
How soon executions can begin is up in the air. The electric chair is ready to use. Prison officials have been doing preliminary research into how firing squads carry out executions in other states, but are not sure how long it will take to have one in place in South Carolina. The other three states that allow a firing squad are Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. …
Lawyers for the men with potentially imminent death dates are considering suing over the new law, saying the state is going backward.
"These are execution methods that previously were replaced by lethal injection, which is considered more humane, and it makes South Carolina the only state going back to the less humane execution methods," said Lindsey Vann of Justice 360, a nonprofit that represents many of the men on South Carolina's death row.
Of the 50 bills facing Gov. McCaster on Thursday, according to ABC, this was the bill he chose first.