Two days after a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine people dead, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley boldly stated that she believes the shooter should “absolutely” receive the death penalty. However, her state has not put somebody to death since 2011 and is unable to secure one of the drugs needed for the lethal injection.
In an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, Haley said of gunman Dylann Roof, “We absolutely will want him to have the death penalty…we will fight this and we will fight this as hard as we can.”
In 2013, the state’s supply of pentobarbital ran out. Pentobarbital is one of the three drugs used in the state’s lethal injection. South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told legislators that his agency is unable to purchase any more of the drug, though there are 44 inmates currently on death row in the state. States across the country have encountered the same problem as pharmaceutical companies have stopped selling certain drugs for executions. Pharmacists are refusing to sell because they want to avoid public harassment due to their involvement in the selling of execution drugs. Stirling has advocated for a bill that will keep the identities of pharmacists involved in the sales of execution drugs secure.
In Oklahoma, the Supreme Court has been questioning the constitutionality of the state’s injections because inmates have expressed that the drug causes pain rather than just unconsciousness. South Carolina House Judiciary Chairman Greg Delleney said that he will wait for a verdict in Oklahoma before pursuing the bill in South Carolina.
With all of the issues stalling execution in South Carolina and dozens of inmates on death row, the executive director of South Carolina’s Death Penalty Resource and Defense Center Emily Paavola said that the next execution in the state will likely happen about five years from now.
Death row inmates have the ability to choose death by electrocution, but if they do not, their execution can only occur with the necessary drugs for lethal injection. Only three people have chosen to die by electrocution since lethal injection was introduced as an option.
Photo Credit: Grace Beahm/The Post And Courier via KAIT 8