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Two Death Row Inmates Told To Choose Their Execution Method

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Two Death Row Inmates Told To Choose Their Execution Method

Two inmates have been told they must choose how they are to be executed.

Last month, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that prisoners on death row much choose the method used to end their life.

And inmates Freddie Owens and Brad Sigmon have now been ordered to decide whether they will face the firing squad or the electric chair.

Owens, 43, was sentenced to death following his conviction for shooting and killing a shop worker during an armed robbery in 1997. He was set to be executed on 25 June.

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Sigmon, 63, was convicted in 2002 for killing his ex-girlfriend's parents and was due to be executed last week.

Last week, their execution dates were delayed until they had chosen how they will die.

Brad Sigmon. Credit: PA
Brad Sigmon. Credit: PA

Between 1985 and 2011, South Carolina executed over 40 prisoners via lethal injection.

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However, in recent time, the authorities there and in other states have struggled for numerous reasons to get the drugs required, meaning they have been unable to execute any inmates for the past decade

Ahead of the delay, the men's lawyers said that the state hadn't tried hard enough to acquire the drugs and that forcing Owens and Sigmon into an electric chair would be in violation of their rights.

According to AP, the lawyers said: "Any harm the State might suffer from the delay inherent in an expedited appeal pales in comparison to...a torturous death."

Chrysti Shain, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Corrections told the outlet that the two executions would be temporarily delayed while the court determined how best to move forward, including the option of a firing squad.

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Shain said: "We are looking to other states for guidance through this process.

"We will notify the court when a firing squad becomes an option for executions."

Freddie Owens. Credit: South Carolina Department of Corrections
Freddie Owens. Credit: South Carolina Department of Corrections

Prior to the decision to delay the executions, anti-death penalty campaigner Alli Sullivan has told the Mirror that Sigmon was terrified of the 'horror' of the electric chair.

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She also revealed that the South Carolina Department of Corrections had denied Sigmon his last meal request of a shot of whisky and two cigarettes.

Sullivan, an intern at Death Penalty Action, told the Mirror: "He was super fearful of the fact it would be an electrocution.

"He made a comment like, 'I can't get the horror of my mind that the state is getting ready to fry me like a piece of bacon'."

According to reports, South Carolina is now one of eight states in the US that offers the electric chair as a method of execution. It is also one of four that allows the use of a firing squad.

Featured Image Credit: South Carolina Department of Corrections

Topics: Police, execution, Death Row, US News, south carolina, Prison

Dominic Smithers
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