COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina inmate set to die either by a firing squad or in the electric chair later this month is asking the state Supreme Court to halt his execution.
Lawyers for 57-year-old Richard Moore say he shouldn’t face execution until judges can determine if either method is cruel and unusual punishment.
Moore is set to die on April 29 unless a court steps in.
He has until next Friday to choose between the South Carolina’s electric chair, which has been used twice in the past 30 years, or being shot by three volunteers who are prison workers in rules the state finalized last month.
Moore was convicted of shooting and killing James Mahoney, a store clerk at Nikki’s Speedy mart in Spartanburg, during an armed robbery in Sept. 1999. A witness at the trial testified that they saw Moore enter the store, then shot at them. The witness dropped to the floor and played dead. Mahoney was then shot in the chest.
Moore left the store and was later found with $1,408 from the store. The prosecution said during the trial that he had taken the money because he wanted to buy crack cocaine.
There was no evidence that Moore entered the store with a gun. In an application for post-conviction relief, Moore claimed that he received ineffective assistance of council at his trial, and that Mahoney was the aggressor, and that he’d taken the gun during a struggle with the clerk and fired “blindly.” Moore said that he was short on change that night, asked if he could use money from the change cup on the counter, and that Mahoney refused and pulled a gun when Moore refused to leave the business.