South Carolina renovated its death chamber and will now carry out firing squad executions: report
Death by firing squad (Shutterstock)

Inmates in South Carolina will be executed by firing squad under Republican Gov. Henry McMaster.

"The S.C. Department of Corrections informed the state’s Attorney General Alan Wilson Friday that it is now able to execute death row inmates using a three-person firing squad using live ammunition if an inmate chooses that method," The State reported. "The Legislature passed a law in 2021 that makes the electric chair South Carolina’s primary method of execution, but gives inmates the option to choose death by firing squad or lethal injection if available. Lethal injection has been unavailable for years in South Carolina."

South Carolina spent $53,600 to update the Broad River Correctional Institution for firing squad executions.

"To carry out the execution, the agency said the firing squad will stand behind a wall and use rifles. But the department did not specify what type of rifle or what kind of ammunition. All firing squad members will be volunteers," the newspaper reported. "The inmate, wearing a prison-issued uniform, will be giving the opportunity to make a last statement and then will be strapped into the execution chair and a hood will be placed over their head. A 'small aim point will be placed over his heart by a member of the execution team,' at which point the warden will read the execution order and the team will fire, the department said."

There are 35 inmates on death row in South Carolina, which has not carried out an execution since 2011.

"South Carolina is now one of four states that offer the firing squad as an execution option, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The other states are Utah, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Last year, The State newspaper published interviews with former South Carolina executioners who said they had suffered psychologically from putting people to death," the newspaper noted.

The new state law allowing firing squad executions delayed to scheduled executions.

"In June, the South Carolina Supreme Court blocked the planned executions of two inmates by electrocution, saying they cannot be put to death until they truly have the choice of a firing squad option set out in the state’s newly revised law," the Associated Press reported. "The high court halted the scheduled executions of Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens, writing that officials needed to put together a firing squad so that inmates could really choose between that or the electric chair."

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