S.C. gets lethal injection drugs, prepares to carry out executions again

No one on death row in the state has been executed since 2011.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 4:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:28 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - South Carolina, which has been unable to carry out executions for years, has obtained lethal injection drugs, officials announced on Tuesday.

No one on death row in the state has been executed since 2011.

“Justice has been delayed for too long in South Carolina,” Governor Henry McMaster said. “This filing brings our state one step closer to being able to once again carry out the rule of law and bring grieving families and loved ones the closure they are rightfully owed.”

Earlier this year, the state enacted a Shield Statute, which protects the identity of those involved in the planning or execution of a death sentence, including drug manufacturers.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) has since been able to obtain pentobarbital. Previously, pharmaceutical companies would not sell the drug to the Palmetto State.

In addition to lethal injection, the electric chair and firing squad will continue to be available execution methods in the state.

In 2021, South Carolina passed legislation making the electric chair the primary method of execution but if a firing squad or lethal injection drugs were available, an inmate could choose. However, the constitutionality of electrocution or firing squad has been argued in the court system for years.

Four men convicted of murder sued the SCDC, saying the two methods were cruel and unusual punishment. The director of the SCDC is now asking for their case to be dismissed since lethal injection is back on the table.

The last execution by electric chair in South Carolina was in 2008.