The agency has previously said it reserved the right to execute Moore with a single lethal dose of pentobarbital if it was unable to obtain the other two drugs. Chrysti Shain, a spokesperson for the corrections department, confirmed Monday that the agency had not obtained any of the three drugs.
Lindsey Vann, one of Moore’s attorneys, on Monday said the delay of an execution due to a lack of drugs is unprecedented in the state. In 2017, corrections officials said they could not carry out the execution order of Bobby Wayne Stone without the appropriate drugs. At the time, however, Stone had not yet exhausted his appeals in court.
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The high court affirmed Monday that per state law, Moore must be executed by lethal injection by default because he did not choose between that and electrocution by a deadline earlier this month.
Moore’s attorneys said he didn’t make a decision because the agency has not been transparent with its execution protocols. The attorneys said they have asked the prison for specific details such as what drug dosages are used in a lethal injection and the condition of the state’s electric chair. They said prison officials responded that they could only give them the information confidentially, meaning the attorneys would be unable to run it by experts or use it in court.
Securing lethal injection drugs has become an increasingly difficult task in the U.S. as drug manufacturers have shied away from selling to states under pressure from anti-death penalty activists. Corrections chief Bryan Stirling, along with the governor and attorney general, have advocated for a bill to shield the identities of manufacturers who provide such drugs.
State lawmakers have also mulled in recent years a bill to require death row prisoners to die by electric chair if lethal injection is not available.
Moore is one of 37 people, all men, currently on South Carolina’s death row. Some prosecutors have sought the death penalty less often in recent years, citing the state’s inability to carry out executions.
South Carolina’s last execution was in 2011.