South Carolina now able to carry out execution by firing squad

Southeast

This undated file photo provided on July 11, 2019, by the South Carolina Department of Corrections shows the new death row at Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, S.C. Lawyers for some of South Carolina’s death row inmates say they might challenge a new law that would let the condemned choose between dying by electric chair or firing squad if lethal injection drugs aren’t available. (South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) —The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) informed Attorney General Alan Wilson Friday that they are prepared to carry out executions by firing squad as required by law, according to a news release.

The law, which went into effect in May 2021, makes South Carolina’s primary method of execution the electric chair, but allows inmates to choose between firing squad or lethal injection, if available, according to the release.

The Capital Punishment Facility at Broad River Correctional Institution has been redone to have the capacity for execution by firing squad, according to the release.

At the facility, a chair has been added to the corner of the room away from the electric chair and bullet-resistant glass was installed between the death chamber and witness room. The chair faces a wall. Three firing squad members will be behind the wall with their rifles facing the inmate through an opening, according to the release. The rifles and opening are not visible from the witness room.

All three rifles will be loaded with live ammunition, according to the release. The witnesses will only see the right-side profile of the inmate. The inmate will wear a prison-issued uniform and will be able to make a last statement.

The inmate will be strapped into a chair with a hood over their head, according to the release. An aim point will be placed over the inmate’s heart and the team will fire after the warden reads the execution order.

The release states a doctor will then examine the inmate and once declared dead, a curtain will be pulled and the witnesses will be escorted out.

Firing squad members will be volunteer employees with SCDC and will have to meet certain requirements.

SCDC said the cost to make the upgrades was $53,600.

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