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Lawyer: Client's Execution Delay 'Unprecedented'

SC officials say they can't obtain drugs needed to put Richard Bernard Moore to death by Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 30, 2020 6:20 PM CST

(Newser) – South Carolina prison officials say they have to delay an execution scheduled for Friday because they won't be able to obtain the necessary lethal injection drugs. An attorney for the state Department of Corrections wrote in a letter to the South Carolina Supreme Court last week that the agency cannot carry out the execution of Richard Bernard Moore due to the lack of drugs, which it has not had stocked since 2013. The AP obtained a copy of the letter. The court scheduled Moore's execution after he exhausted his federal appeals this month. Moore, 55, has spent nearly two decades on death row following his conviction for the 1999 killing of a convenience store clerk in Spartanburg County. He would be the first person executed in South Carolina since 2011.

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The state’s usual injection protocol calls for three drugs: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. But the corrections agency has said its last supplies expired in 2013. The agency has previously said it reserves the right to execute Moore with a single lethal dose of the sedative pentobarbital. Lindsey Vann, one of Moore's attorneys, called the delay "unprecedented" on Monday, adding that she wasn't aware of any other execution in South Carolina history requiring such a delay due to a lack of drugs. 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. Securing lethal injection drugs has become an increasingly difficult task in the US as drug manufacturers have shied away from selling to states under pressure from anti-death penalty activists.

(Read more death row stories.)

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