South Carolina reports ability to execute inmates by firing squad

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Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 4:29 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 8:31 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Friday, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) informed the state’s Attorney General Alan Wilson that they’re now able to carry out executions by firing squad. The department said it is required by law to be able to perform the executions under S.C. Code 24-3-530.

The legislation became law May, 14, 2021. It makes the electric chair the primary means of execution but gives inmates the option to choose death by firing squad or lethal injection if available. The Capital Punishment Facility at Broad River Correctional Institution underwent a renovation to allow it to perform firing squad executions.

The facility now includes a chair which inmates can sit before being shot. The chair is away from the electric chair, which can’t be moved. Bullet resistant glass is now installed in the witness room and death chamber. It faces a wall with an opening approximately 15 feet away.

The department reported the protocols for carrying out the execution include three firing squad members. The squad faces the inmate with rifles through the opening, all rifles will be loaded with live ammunition. Members of the squad are volunteers from the SCDC employees.

Witnesses to an firing squad execution will see the right-side profile of the inmate and not face them directly. They will be allowed to make a last statement before being strapped to the chair and having a hood placed over their head. A small target point will be placed over the heart by the execution team.

Additionally, the warden reads the execution order before the team opens fire. The department said a doctor will be called in to examine the inmate to declare them dead. Witnesses will be escorted out after a curtain is drawn on the execution.

In total, SCDC reported they spent around $53,600 on supplies and materials to make the changes and add safety precautions.

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