South Carolina brings back firing squad executions

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South Carolina brings back firing squad executions

South Carolina has given the green light for condemned prisoners in the state to be executed by firing squad.

Final approval came Friday after the state Department of Corrections said renovations had been completed on a new death chamber where the executions can take place in the state capital of Columbia.

The electric chair is the state’s primary method of execution, but a May 2021 law now allows prisoners to choose to die by lethal injection or firing squad, the state said in a press release.

The new chamber – which cost $53,600 to build — consists of a metal chair with restraints that faces a wall. The wall has a rectangular opening where three shooters can carry out the sentence. Witnesses can watch the action behind bullet-proof glass. Inmates will receive a hood and be allowed to make a final statement.

Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Utah also allow death by firing squad. Only three prisoners in the United States have been executed using the method since 1976, all in Utah, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

South Carolina electric chair
The electric chair is the state’s primary method of execution, but prisoners can also choose to die by lethal injection or firing squad.
Kinard Lisbon/South Carolina Department of Corrections via AP, File

South Carolina last executed a prisoner in 2011 and currently has 35 inmates on death row.

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