a prisoner of South Carolina who will be the first man to be executed later this month in the state in more than a decade, chose to die by firing squad rather than the electric chair, according to court documents filed Friday.
Richard Bernard Moore57, is also the first state prisoner to face a choice of execution methods after a law went into effect last year making electrocution the default option and gives inmates the option to take on three prison workers armed with rifles.
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Moore has spent more than two decades on death row. after being convicted of the 1999 murder of a convenience store clerk named James Mahoney, in Spartanburg. If executed as scheduled on April 29, he will be the first person executed in the state since 2011 and the fourth in the country to die by firing squad in nearly half a century.
Only three executions in USA they have been carried out by firing squad since 1976, according to the Washington-based nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center. the of Moore would be the first since the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010 for a five-person firing squad in Utah.
South Carolina it is one of eight states that still use the electric chair and one of four that allow a firing squaddepending on the center.
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In a written statement, Moore He said that he did not recognize that either method was legal or constitutional, but stated that he was more strongly opposed to death by electrocution and that only he chose the firing squad because he had a decision to make.
The state’s new law was prompted by a decade-long lull in executions, which prison officials blame on an inability to obtain the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections.
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The lawyers of Moore they have asked the state Supreme Court to delay his death while another court determines whether any of the available methods are cruel and unusual punishment . The lawyers argue that prison officers don’t try hard enough to obtain lethal injection drugsinstead they force the prisoners to choose between two more barbaric methods.
His lawyers are also asking the state Supreme Court to delay the execution so that the United States Supreme Court can review whether his death sentence was a disproportionate punishment compared to similar crimes. State judges denied a similar appeal last week.
The correctional agency South Carolina said last month that it had finished developing protocols for executions of firing squads. In the case of an execution by firing squad, three volunteer prison workers will point their rifles at the heart of the condemned prisoner.
Moore is one of 35 men on South Carolina’s death row.. The state last scheduled an execution for Moore in 2020, which was later delayed after prison officials said they were unable to obtain drugs for the lethal injection.
Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling reiterated in an affidavit last week that the agency was still unable to obtain the drugs because manufacturers and compounding pharmacies contacted by the state refused to help.
During the trial of Moore in 2001, prosecutors said he entered the store looking for money to support his cocaine addiction and got into a dispute with Mahoneywho pulled out a gun Moore snatched him away
Mahoney pulled out a second gun and a shootout ensued. Mahoney shot Moore in the arm and Moore shot Mahoney in the chest. Prosecutors said Moore left a trail of blood in the store as he searched for cash, stepping on Mahoney twice.
At that moment, Moore claimed that he acted in self-defense after Mahoney drew the first gun.
supporters of Moore they have argued that their crime does not rise to the level of a capital offense. His appellate attorneys have said that because Moore he didn’t bring a gun into the store, he couldn’t have intended to kill someone when he entered.
The last person executed in South Carolina it was Jeffrey Motts, who was on death row for strangling a cellmate while serving a life sentence for another murder.