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  • A South Carolina judge has ruled that the state’s newly created execution firing squad and its use of the electric chair are unconstitutional. Judge Jocelyn Newman's decision Tuesday siding with four death row inmates is sure to be swiftly appealed as the state struggles to implement its new execution protocols. Last month, Newman heard arguments from lawyers for four men on the state’s death row, who said that the prisoners would feel terrible pain whether their bodies were “cooking” by electricity or heart stopped by a marksman’s bullet. The state's experts said death by firing squad or electric chair would be instantaneous and the condemned would not feel any pain. Corrections Department officials said they are “assessing the ruling.” Gov. Henry McMaster said he would appeal.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court has put another execution on hold, two days after temporarily blocking plans for a rare firing squad execution. The court issued an order Friday granting inmate Brad Keith Sigmon a temporary stay ahead of his scheduled May 13 execution. The state's highest court on Wednesday had paused plans for an April 29 firing squad execution of Richard Moore. Moore and Sigmon would have been the first death row inmates put to death by South Carolina after a 2021 law made electrocution the default and also gave prisoners the option to choose a firing squad. Sigmon had so far not chosen an execution method.
  • A South Carolina prisoner scheduled for execution later this month has chosen to die by firing squad rather than in the electric chair. Court documents filed Friday listed Richard Moore's decision. Moore's April 29 execution would make him the first person executed in the state since 2011. His attorneys have asked the state Supreme Court to halt the execution while another court considers whether the state's capital punishment methods are constitutional. A state law that went into effect last year set electrocution as the default method and added a firing squad option. Correction officials have maintained they are unable to obtain the drugs needed for lethal injection, the state's third method.
  • A judge has ruled that a lawsuit brought by four death row inmates challenging South Carolina's execution methods can move forward. Circuit Judge Jocelyn Newman made the ruling Thursday. Lawyers for the inmates asked Newman to closely examine prison officials' claims that they can't secure lethal injection drugs, leaving the electric chair and the firing squad as the only options for execution.
  • A South Carolina inmate set to die either by a firing squad or in the electric chair later this month is asking the state Supreme Court to halt his execution. Lawyers for 57-year-old Richard Moore say he shouldn't face execution until judges can determine if either method is cruel and unusual punishment. Moore is set to die on April 29 unless a court steps in. He has until next Friday to choose between the South Carolina's electric chair, which has been used twice in the past 30 years, or being shot by three volunteers who are prison workers in rules the state finalized last month.
  • South Carolina has given the greenlight to firing-squad executions. The method was codified into state law last year after a decade-long pause in carrying out the death sentence over the state's inability to procure lethal injection drugs. State prison officials said Friday that renovations have been completed on the death chamber in Columbia to allow for a firing squad. Legislation that took effect last May made the electric chair the state's primary means of execution while giving inmates the option of death by firing squad or lethal injection, if those methods are available. South Carolina's last execution took place in 2011.
  • A federal judge in South Carolina is considering a bid to block the upcoming electrocutions of two prisoners under the state's recently revised capital punishment law. U.S. District Judge Bryan Harwell heard arguments Wednesday on whether he should halt the executions of Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens later this month.
  • A South Carolina judge is considering whether to temporarily halt a new law effectively forcing death row prisoners to choose to die by either electric chair or firing squad. Attorneys for two men set to die later this month say the law is unconstitutional because their clients were sentenced under the old law that made lethal injection the default execution method.
  • The inmate scheduled to be the first put to death under South Carolina's recently revamped capital punishment law has filed a last-minute request seeking to halt his execution in the electric chair. Attorneys for Brad Sigmon argued in papers filed Thursday that the state hasn't exhausted all methods to procure lethal injection drugs. They want a judge to put a stop to his June 18 execution. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for next week. South Carolina says it can't get lethal injection drugs, and a new law would force inmates to choose either the electric chair or a firing squad, in the event lethal injection drugs aren't available.