|South Carolina's death chamber|
SCDOC director 'unsuccessful in acquiring lethal injection drugs'
COLUMBIA, S.C. —As South Carolina's top prison boss, Bryan Stirling must be able to carry out an execution when given the order.
But Stirling told WYFF News 4 Investigates if an order to execute a death row inmate came tomorrow, his agency would not be able to comply.
"The anti-death penalty people have been very effective in stopping drug companies from selling lethal injection drugs to states," Stirling said. "Once we tell these companies who we're with, the conversation stops."
South Carolina is one of many states whose death penalties are on hold because of drug companies' refusal to supply pentobarbital, a sedative used in lethal injection cocktails.
Stirling said he is deciding whether another sedative, midazolam, could be a suitable substitute for pentobarbital.
Last year, midazolam was blamed for a botched execution in Oklahoma. But this summer, the drug was deemed constitutional by U.S. Supreme Court.
Stirling said he wants to make sure midazolam is right for South Carolina.
"The Supreme Court talked about some of the folks in other states suffering for almost an hour. We would have to be comfortable that that would not happen," Stirling said.
When Dylann Roof, 21, was charged with the shooting deaths of nine people at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, Gov. Nikki Haley told NBC's "Today Show" that Roof should receive the ultimate punishment.
"We absolutely will want him to have the death penalty. This is the worst hate that I have seen and that the country has seen in a long time," Haley said.
Stirling said his agency has not been pressured to speed up its search for lethal injection drugs in the wake of the Charleston church shootings.
He said until the state creates a shield law to protect the names of companies that supply these cocktails, manufacturers will be reluctant to sell them.
Source: WYFF4, July 21, 2015
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