South Carolina lacks drugs for December execution

By Daniel Uria  |  Nov. 20, 2017 at 7:56 PM
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Nov. 20 (UPI) -- South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said the state can't carry out the scheduled execution of a death row inmate because it lacks the necessary drugs for lethal injection.

McMaster said the Dec. 1 execution of 52-year-old Bobby Wayne Stone, who was convicted in the murder of Sumter County Sheriff Sgt. Charlie Kubala in 1996, can't be carried out unless the state signs a law allowing companies to sell drugs to the state confidentially.

"The reason we don't have the drugs despite intense efforts to get them is because the companies that make them, the distributors who distribute them and the pharmacies who may have to compound them don't want to be identified," McMaster said.

South Carolina's supply of pentobarbital and two other drugs used in the state's lethal injection protocol expired in 2013.

Corrections Department Director Bryan Stirling introduced a shield law that would offer protection to the manufacturers and compounding pharmacists who provide the drugs, but it hasn't been passed.

McMaster said without such a law in place companies face fear of "retribution or exposure" if their names are made known.

"So here we are at a dead stop, and we can't do anything about it unless or until our Legislature enacts the shield law that Director Stirling asked for years ago," he said.

McMaster and Stirling have asked the state General Assembly to pass the shield law during its next session.

South Carolina hasn't carried out an execution since 2011 and there are 39 inmates on death row.

State lawmakers have introduced bills to eliminate execution by lethal injection and to provide inmates the choice of firing squad or electrocution if lethal drugs were unavailable, but neither have passed.

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