© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations


  • The state is poised to carry out its first execution in more than a decade after the Department of Corrections secured the drug pentobarbital.
  • South Carolina's highest court will hear arguments on whether a newly organized firing squad or the old electric chair are legal ways to execute inmates in the state. The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear an appeal Thursday of a lower court ruling that executions by electrocution or firing squad cause excruciating pain and are cruel and unusual punishments. South Carolina hasn't conducted an execution since 2011. Since then, the state's lethal injection drugs have expired and administrators have been unable to buy more. That led lawmakers in 2021 to pass a bill essentially requiring condemned inmates to be electrocuted unless they choose the firing squad.
  • It's unknown how long a stay will hold off the execution of South Carolina's first-ever inmate to be put to death by a firing squad as his attorneys pursue legal challenges. But the issuance of Richard Bernard Moore's death warrant has renewed interest in how a state puts in motion its plans to shoot an inmate to death. South Carolina had planned to put Moore to death by firing squad on April 29. The state added the method to its approved capital punishment methods last year. Since then, prisons officials have been retrofitting the death chamber to add a slot in the wall through which three volunteers will shoot rifles at the condemn's heart.
  • 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.
  • The South Carolina Supreme Court has issued a temporary stay halting the state from carrying out plans for its first-ever firing squad execution. Wednesday's order by the state's high court temporarily halts a scheduled April 29 execution of inmate Richard Moore. The court order said a more detailed order will follow. Moore's attorneys had asked justices to block the execution plan so they could ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether his crime rises to the level of a death penalty offense. Moore has spent more than two decades on death row for the 1999 killing of convenience store clerk James Mahoney in Spartanburg.
  • 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.
  • Lawyers for two men on South Carolina's death row have asked the state's Supreme Court to hold off on setting execution dates while they challenge a new law allowing executions by firing squad. The Monday request by attorneys for Brad Keith Sigmon and Freddie Eugene Owens comes after the state Corrections Department said last week that the agency is now prepared to carry out firing-squad executions. Lawmakers added the firing squad as an option last year in an effort to get around a decade-long pause in executions. The high court set execution dates for both inmates last year but delayed their deaths to give the corrections department time to set up the firing squad.
  • 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.