Judge rules against SC death row inmates trying to stop executions

Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 5:31 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A judge in Richland County has denied two death row inmates’ attempts to stop their executions.

The state is set to carry out executions for the first time in more than a decade based on a new law that would make inmates choose either death by electric chair or firing squad if lethal injection was not available.

Brad Sigmon is scheduled to be executed June 18 and Freddie Owens is set to be executed June 25, court documents show.

Owens was sentenced to death in 1999 for the murder of Irene Graves on Halloween night in 1997.

Sigmon was convicted in 2002 of beating the parents of his estranged girlfriend to death with a baseball bat.

A lawsuit filed by Sigmon’s attorneys in May argues that he can’t be electrocuted or shot because he was sentenced under an old law that made lethal injection the default execution method. Owens’ attorneys asked to join Sigmon’s request.

The drugs needed for lethal injection have not been available for years, South Carolina officials have previously said.

A Richland County Circuit Court judge denied the court filing on Tuesday saying the “plaintiffs have little likelihood of success on the merits of their claim.”

State prison officials have previously said the electric chair is ready to use but they are still working on developing a firing squad.

Sigmon and Owens have filed a similar petition in federal court.

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