SC legislators move closer to approving electric chair, firing squad for death penalty executions

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(FOX 46 CHARLOTTE)- Executions in South Carolina are getting closer to resuming after a committee in the Senate approved the electric chair and a firing squad as methods to execute. The bill came about because pharmaceutical companies are not selling lethal injection drugs. 

Now lawmakers are scrambling to come up with alternatives to get these executions back on schedule. 

“They just started shooting Brent as he laid on the ground, at the trial, they said he said mama,” said Myra McCants, the mother of a York County Sheriff’s deputy who was shot. “They shot the back of his head off and reloaded.” 

McCants’ son, Brent McCants, had stopped a car because it had a light out. Little did he know it had been car jacked in Charlotte. He also didn’t know the two men in the car had a gun, he was shot seven times and left to die in the street.  

One of the men Mar-Reece Hughes, is on death row.  

“Brent was murdered September 25, 1992. This is what, April 2021? And they’re still around, and they’re still around.” 

It normally takes years to actually execute prisoners, but with no more access to lethal injections, executions could completely stop. That’s where S.B. 200 comes in.  

If passed, it would allow prison officials to use death by electric chair or firing squad if there is no access to the lethal drugs.  

“I mean, they all know they can get away with murder,” McCants said. “Look what happened to my son and he was a policeman. He was 23.” 

Critics say these methods are inhumane.  

Solicitor Barry Barnette prosecuted two men who are currently on death row, Richard Moore and Ricky Lee Blackwell. Blackwell was convicted of murdering an eight-year-old little girl.  

“Took the pistol shot him, shot her four times and what’s sad about that, was she was trying to wiggle out of there. You can see where he missed,” Barnette said. “He tried to shoot her in the head originally, she kept wiggling, and he shot her actually through the leg. I think it is through shoulder, and eventually, he got in a headlock and shot her temple, the temple. She was short shot four times.” 

Robert Dunham, the executive director of The Death Penalty Information Center, says South Carolina’s approach with this bill is much more radical than the rest of many states. 

“Two-thirds of the states in the United States now have either abolished the death penalty or not carried out an execution for more than a decades,” he said. “By expediting executions or attempting to restart them. What South Carolina is doing runs counter to the national trend. And one has to think hard about what priorities should be.” 

But McCants doesn’t care what the method of execution is, she just wants action after all these years.

“It’s sad. I want justice for my son,” she said.  

This bill passed through the House Judiciary Committee yesterday and now is heading to the floor for debate. Governor Henry McMaster has previously said that if the bill makes it to his desk he will sign it into law.  

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