Jeffrey Motts was pronounced dead on May 6, 2011, nearly 15 minutes after receiving a lethal injection for murdering his cellmate — the last inmate to die by lethal injection in South Carolina.
Nearly a decade later, state senators moved closer on Tuesday to ending a moratorium forced by a lack of access to lethal injection drugs by voting to add the firing squad as an execution method.
The bill would force death row inmates to choose between lethal injections, the electric chair, or the firing squad — but if the drugs aren’t available for an injection, it would mandate one of the other two options instead.
The measure’s supporters argued the change would bring closure to the families of victims who have waited years for death sentences to be carried out in South Carolina, one of 28 states where the death penalty remains legal.
Senators voted 32-11 in favor of adding the firing squad to the bill, which is expected to pass the Senate this week. House members moved a similar bill forward earlier this year, although without the provision for a firing squad.
A spokesperson for Gov. Henry McMaster (R) told the State that the governor is in favor of changing the law to allow executions to be performed using any “reasonable” and constitutional method, including firing squads.
Evidently, adding the firing squad is a way to speed up the death penalty process given the scarcity of murderous drugs and the horrors of the electric chair. But the sheer act of forcing someone to choose the manner of their own death is the kind of pointless cruelty that sums up the Republican Party, especially when you create a system that sends often innocent Black people to their deaths.