South Carolina is ready to resume executions by lethal injection.
In a press release Tuesday afternoon from Gov. Henry McMaster’s office, the governor and the S.C. Department of Corrections said they informed the S.C. Supreme Court that the department is “now prepared to carry out executions by lethal injection.”
“Justice has been delayed for too long in South Carolina,” McMaster said in the press release. “This filing brings our state one step closer to being able to once again carry out the rule of law and bring grieving families and loved ones the closure they are rightfully owed.”
The Palmetto State has had an unintended 12-year halt on executions due to the state’s batch of lethal injection drugs expiring in 2013. Two years ago, state officials tried to resume executions by creating a firing squad. However, that law is now under contention in the state Supreme Court concerning whether those executions constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
South Carolina law specifies the electric chair as the default method of execution while giving inmates the option of choosing death by firing squad or lethal injection if those methods are available. All three methods outlined in law are now available to carry out a death sentence.
The Department of Corrections made more than 1,300 contacts in search of lethal injection drugs, according to the press release. Those inquiries included drug manufacturers, suppliers, compounding pharmacies and other potential sources. Ultimately, the state was able to secure pentobarbital, for carrying out an execution by lethal injection under a one-drug protocol. The release did not specify from what source the drug was procured.
In early May, McMaster signed a shield law into effect, which hides the identities of the companies selling the lethal drug injections. The law also guards the names of the executioners.
The press release did not say when executions would resume or who would be first on the list. There’s currently 34 people on South Carolina’s death row, according to the Department of Corrections.
This is a breaking news story and may be updated with additional details.