© Reuters. The execution room at Utah State Prison. REUTERS/Trent Nelson-Salt Lake Tribune/Pool

(Reuters) – South Carolina now has the resources to facilitate firing squad executions, officials said Friday, making it one of the few states where it is legal to carry out a death sentence in that way.

The State Department of Corrections said it had warned the attorney general’s office that it was developing protocols and completing renovations at a correctional facility in Columbia, the capital, to make way for inmates on death row to be shot by police officers. a three-man team of three. possible implementation methods.

A state law passed in May 2021 approved policy changes to the death penalty, giving convicts the option to choose death by guns or lethal injection, if available. It also made the electric chair the primary mode of execution of the state.

South Carolina joins Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah in allowing firing squad executions. Those states use lethal injection as their primary method. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, three executions, all in Utah, have been carried out by firing squad since 1976.

Ronnie Lee Gardner, a 49-year-old convicted murderer, was the last person in the United States to be executed by firing squad in 2010.

South Carolina last carried out an execution in 2011 when Jeffrey Motts, 36, was put to death by lethal injection after being convicted of the 2005 murder of a cellmate.

South Carolina has carried out 43 executions since the United States reintroduced the death penalty in 1977. It has 35 inmates on death row, according to the Department of Corrections.

The death room at the state prison has been updated to add a metal firing squad seat, protective gear and bulletproof glass to separate the witness room, according to a press release.

The firing squad members are volunteer correctional officers who must meet certain qualifications, the release said.

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