Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Death Row Inmate Public

A South Carolina death row prisoner is scheduled to be executed by a firing squad on April 29, it will be the first execution in South Carolina after the renovation of its death chamber.

The State Supreme Court clerk has officially set an April 29 execution date for Richard Bernard Moore, an inmate who spent more than 20 years on death row after being convicted in the 1999 killing of James Mahoney, a convenience store clerk working in Spartanburg.

The state last scheduled execution for Moore in 2020, however, it was delayed as prison officials claimed they could not obtain lethal injection drugs. During Moore’s 2001 trial, prosecutors stated that Moore entered the store looking for money to support his cocaine habit and got into a fight with Mahoney, who drew a pistol that Moore wrestled away from him.

Mahoney pulled a second gun, which resulted in a gunfight. He shot Moore in the arm, and Moore shot Mahoney in the chest. According to prosecutors, Moore left a trail of blood through the store while looking for cash, stepping twice over Mahoney. Moore claimed that he acted in self-defense after Mahoney drew the first gun.

Correction officials previously announced the development of state protocols for firing squad executions. The method will need three volunteers, all of them should be Corrections Department employees, armed with rifles loaded with live ammunition. A hood will be placed over the head of the inmate. The prisoner will be given the chance to make the last statement.

It will be the first execution in South Carolina following the completion of $53,600 renovations to its death chamber, including the installation of a metal chair with restraints that faces a wall with a rectangular opening 15 feet away. Moore is said to be one of 35 inmates on South Carolina’s death row.

South Carolina’s capital punishment law made the electric chair the state’s primary means of execution while giving death row inmates the option of choosing death by firing squad or lethal injection, an effort to work a decade-long halt in executions due to the corrections agency’s inability to acquire lethal injection drugs.

According to the Washington-based nonprofit group Death Penalty Information Center, South Carolina is among the eight states to still use the electric chair as a method of execution and one of four to permit a firing squad.

South Carolina’s last execution happened in 2011, Jeffrey Motts was put on death row for strangling a cellmate while serving a life sentence for another murder, abandoned his appeals and chose the death chamber.

Michael and Mark Sheppard facing manslaughter charges in Texas killing. JCFUL/ Pixabay