The South Carolina Department of Corrections announced on Friday that it was ready to execute convicts sentenced to death by firing squad.
The department’s head informed the Attorney General’s office that the procedures and facilities for the firing squad execution option were ready.
In May, the state enacted legislation allowing inmates sentenced to death to be executed by firing squad. Although the electric chair is the most common method of execution in South Carolina, convicts have the option of being executed by firing squad or lethal injection if such options are available.
In the state, there are 35 people on death row.
According to Department of Corrections spokesperson Chrysti Shain, the department spent around $53,600 to set up the facilities needed for the executions.
The state’s Supreme Court must approve the firing squad’s specific procedure before any executions can take place.
Witnesses will be permitted to observe the firing squad executions.
Brad Sigmon, 63, is one of the first criminals to be killed. He was convicted in 2002 of murdering his former girlfriend’s parents with a baseball bat. Sigmon’s fiancée had ended their three-year relationship and returned to her parents’ house.
Freddie Owens, 43, was condemned to death in 1999 after shooting a convenience store employee in the head during a robbery because she couldn’t access the safe. He also admitted to the murder of Christopher Lee, a fellow inmate.
To prevent states from carrying out death sentences, opponents of the death penalty have made it more difficult for them to obtain the chemicals used in lethal injections. Since 2013, when it ran out of lethal injection medications and couldn’t carry out executions, South Carolina has been looking for more.