According to court documents, death row inmate Richard Moore has decided to die by firing squad rather than the electric chair later this month. Richard is the first state prisoner to face this choice of execution methods since the law went into effect last year.
“I believe this election is forcing me to choose between two unconstitutional methods of execution, and I do not intend to waive any challenges to electrocution or firing squad by making an election,” Richard said in the statement.
Richard was convicted in 2001 of armed robbery and the murder of a convenience store clerk in Spartanburg County in 1999. His lawyers have asked the state Supreme Court to delay Richard’s execution so the U.S. Supreme Court can decide if his death sentence was a disproportionate punishment compared to similar crimes. However, South Carolina state justices denied a similar appeal last week.
“The death penalty should be reserved for those who commit the most heinous crimes in our society, and I do not believe Moore’s crimes rise to that level,” Supreme Court Associate Justice Kaye Hearn wrote in a 14 page dispute.
Many supporters have also argued that Richard’s crime doesn’t rise to the level of heinousness in other death penalty cases in the state. His appeals lawyers have said that because Moore didn’t bring a gun into store, he couldn’t have intended to kill someone when he walked in.
Richard is scheduled to be executed on April 29th. He is the first person executed in South Carolina since Jeffrey Motts in 2011. An inmate on death row for strangling a cellmate while serving a life sentence for another murder.