South Carolina Prisoner Chooses to Be Executed By Firing Squad

Per the court filings Friday, a South Carolina jailbird, who is due as the government’s first man killed in years, elected to be executed by firing squad, instead of the electric chair.

Richard Moore, 57, is the first-ever state prisoner to be presented with a choice of execution techniques.

This comes after a law decided the electric chair would be the new default method of execution. It gave prisoners the option of facing several prison guards armed with guns instead.

Moore has been on death row for more than 20 years after being guilty of the 1999 slaying of convenience store worker James Mahoney in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, South Carolina is among eight states that still uses the electric chair and one of four that allows the use of a firing squad.

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A written declaration from Moore stated he did not accept either method as constitutionally valid. However, he was more firmly opposed to death by electrocution, but only selected the firing squad when forced to do so.

The statement from Moore added, ‘I feel that by holding this election, I am being forced to choose among two unconstitutional means of execution. I do not intend to forgo any objections to electrocution or by firing squad as a result of my participation in this election.”

In response to a decade-long lull in executions, which correctional officials ascribe to an inability to get the medications required for lethal injections, the state enacted a new statute.

Moore’s defenders have petitioned the South Carolina Supreme Court to postpone Moore’s execution, while another court evaluates whether one of the two options available is severe and unusual punishment.

Prison officials, say the attorneys, aren’t putting up enough effort to obtain lethal injection medications, instead forcing convicts to choose among two more cruel means of execution.

Furthermore, his attorneys are requesting that the South Carolina Supreme Court postpone the execution so that the United States Supreme Court might consider whether his death penalty was disproportionate, when compared to similar offenses.

Last week, a similar appeal was refused by the state’s highest court.

To Be Continued…

It was announced last month that the South Carolina Department of Corrections finished constructing procedures for firing squad killings.

It completed $53,600 in refurbishments to the execution chamber in Columbia.

In the event of a firing squad punishment, three volunteer prison guards will practice shooting their weapons into the heart of the condemned prisoner.

Moore is among 35 prisoners on death row in the state of South Carolina. 
Moore was slated to be executed by lethal injection in 2020, but the execution was postponed because prison officials indicated they were unable to procure lethal injection medicines.