South Carolina Seeks to Resume Executions After Nearly 10 Years

Electric chair in the dark room, 3D rendering
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South Carolina lawmakers seek to resume executions in the state after going nearly ten years without executing an inmate.

A state House committee voted 14-7 Tuesday to make electrocution the default method for execution. The bill is now set to go to the state House floor, and a similar bill is going to the state Senate floor for a vote.

Currently, inmates on death row can choose between electrocution and lethal injection — the state’s current default method.

Because South Carolina does not have the right drugs to put an inmate to death, the state has placed the death penalty on hold.

The state last put an inmate to death in 2011, and its lethal injection drug supply has expired since then. In the prior decade, the state executed 17 inmates.

Death row inmates reaching the end of their appeals are finding their executions have been postponed, officials said.

Gov. Henry McMaster (R-SC) asked that lawmakers find a way to resume the death penalty in his State of the State speech in January.

South Carolina lawmakers have unsuccessfully attempted to bring executions back over the years.I

There have been bills supporting alternative methods of execution, such as electrocution or death by firing squad, and a bill seeking to hide the names of drug companies who manufacture lethal injection drugs.

South Carolina’s death row is down to 37 inmates because of natural deaths, courts overturning death sentences, and prosecutors accepting life sentences.


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