South Carolina Dept. of Corrections scrambles to create firing squad to carry out executions

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – The South Carolina Department of Corrections is now scrambling to create a firing squad to carry out executions. This comes after the state’s Supreme Court granted a stay to convicted murderers Brad Sigmon and Freddie Ownes.

Sigmon was due to be executed by electric chair Friday evening.

The state’s new law says that inmates will be given the choice between electrocution and firing squad if lethal injection isn’t available.

The Supreme Court ruled that since the firing squad isn’t yet available, the executions can’t be carried out.

“The families involved here, of the victims, need justice and closure,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “We intended for this law to accomplish that. I disagree with the decision.”

The executions haven’t been rescheduled.

The state needs to gather a team of sharpshooters and build a new facility to carry out the executions.

“I have no latest information on when it will be available but I’m confident it will be available,” said McMaster.

South Carolina hasn’t carried out an execution in nearly a decade.

Prison officials argue they can’t get access to the drug cocktail needed for lethal injections.

But John Blume, Director of the Death Penalty Project at Cornell, says that’s not necessarily the case.

“To me, this is a manufactured crisis. It’s not clear that they couldn’t get the drugs, these other states have gotten them. So they tell the legislature we can’t carry out the executions this way we need to be able to electrocute people or shoot them,” said Blume.

Blume points to the numerous executions carried out by the federal government in the final months of the Trump administration.

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