SOUTH CAROLINA (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — South Carolina has effectively been left without a functioning death penalty for years, but now, lawmakers want to change that by including the electric chair.
South Carolina last put an inmate to death in 2011 and right now dozens of inmates are sitting on death row.
The state’s supply of lethal injection drugs has expired since the last execution and securing the drugs has become a difficult task across the country as drug makers refuse to sell to states under pressure from anti-death penalty activists.
But on Wednesday, a South Carolina House committee voted to make electrocution the default for an execution.
Back in December, Richard Moore, the man convicted of shooting and killing a gas station clerk in Spartanburg County had his death sentence delayed because the state didn’t have the lethal injection drugs they needed.
South Carolina’s most notorious serial killer, Todd Kohlhepp, was given seven consecutive life sentences despite solicitors saying it was a clear ‘death penalty case.’
Kohlhepp was arrested after a missing woman was found chained up in a metal storage container on his property.
Dozens of his victim’s family members said they wanted swift justice and the lack of lethal injection drugs was just one of the hurdles they would have had to face.
Inmates who insist on lethal injections are essentially given a way to block their own executions, but this new bill would change that.
The measure would no longer give inmates on death row a choice between lethal injection and the electric chair if lethal injection drugs aren’t available.
The bill now heads to the House floor and the decision could have a big impact on cases going forward. Some prosecutors say they’ve sought the death penalty less often in recent years, citing the state’s inability to carry out executions.