North Carolina.- a prisoner of South Carolina scheduled to be the first executed man in the state in more than a decade decided to die in a firing squad instead of in the electric chair later this month, according to court documents filed Friday.
Richard Bernard Moore, 57, is also the first state prisoner to face choice of execution methods after a law came into force last year making electrocution the default option and giving inmates the option to face three prison workers with rifles.
Moore has spent more than two decades on death row after being convicted of the 1999 murder of Spartanburg convenience store clerk James Mahoney. If he runs as scheduled on April 29, it would 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.
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Only three executions in the United States have been carried out by firing squads since 1976, according to the Information Center on Death penalty, a nonprofit organization based in Washington. the of Moore would be the first since the execution of Ronnie Lee Gardner in 2010 by a firing squad of five people in Utah.
South Carolina it is one of eight states that still use the electric chair and one of four that allow a firing squad, according to the center.
In a written statement, Moore He said that he did not recognize that either method was legal or constitutional, but that he was more strongly opposed to death by electrocution and only chose the firing squad because I had to make a decision.
“I think this election is forcing me to choose between two unconstitutional methods of executionand I do not intend to give up any challenge to electrocution or the firing squad by making an election,” Moore said in the statement.
The new law of the state was fueled by a decade-long hiatus in executions, which prison officials blame on the inability to obtain the drugs needed to carry out lethal injections.
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 officials are not trying hard enough to get the drugs from lethal injectioninstead they force the prisoners to choose between two more barbaric methods.
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His lawyers are also asking the state Supreme Court to delay performance so that the Supreme Court of USA can review whether his death sentence was a disproportionate punishment compared to similar crimes. State judges denied a similar appeal last week.
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