On Monday, the Supreme Court stalled a death row prisoner’s execution because corrections officials couldn’t obtain the drugs to kill him. Richard Bernard Moore was spared from death after killing a convenience store clerk in 1999. Moore has exhausted all of his appeals.
It takes three drugs to execute a prisoner: pentobarbital, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride. According to the Associated Press, these drugs have not been in stock since 2013. A spokesperson for the corrections department, Chrysti Stain, confirmed that the drugs were not obtained. Moore isn’t the first inmate to gain fate. In 2017, Bobby Wayne Stone was set to be executed, but officials couldn’t carry out the task because of the lack of drugs. At the time, Stone had not exhausted his appeals.
On Monday, the state courts said that by law, Moore had to be executed by lethal injection because he did not choose between the injection and electrocution by the deadline. An attorney for Moore said that he did not decide because the execution protocols were not clear.
Obtaining lethal injection drugs has become complicated because drug manufacturers have become hesitant to sell drugs because of anti-death activists. A bill to protect the identities of manufacturers who provide the drugs has been established and is supported by corrections chief Bryan Stirling, the governor and attorney general.
37 people, including Moore, are on South Carolina’s death row.