Former prison officer seeks amnesty from a convict on death row

Columbia, South Carolina – If Richard Moore is executed, he has some say in how he goes — an electric chair or firing squad.

Moore is one of three South Carolina convict on death row and may be the first to face harsh choices under new state law, with no appeals in the last six months. But his supporters, including a former prison director in the state, say he’s more suitable.

The State Supreme Court set and stopped the prisoner’s execution after stating that the Correctional Bureau did not have the drugs needed to carry out lethal injection. Governor Henry McMaster has now signed a law requiring condemnation of choosing to die by bullet or electrocution if deadly injections are not available.


South Carolina once had one of the country’s most prolific execution chambers, but drug shortages have stagnated executions for a decade. The state is one of nine still using electric chairs, and the fourth allows firing squad.

Moore, 56, has lived in death row for 20 years after being convicted of a deadly shooting by convenience store clerk James Mahony in 2001. The Spartan Berg man has not made a choice because he is focusing on his current petition to the State Supreme Court, his lawyer Lindsey Van said.

His lawyer continues to challenge the court, so he is also preparing an amnesty proceeding. Among his supporters is John Osmint, a former director of the South Carolina Corrections Bureau. He claims that Moore is a reformist man who deserves life imprisonment without parole, not death.

“I’ve been found guilty of killing another man in the store, but I don’t think most counties in the state can even find a jury recommending the death penalty for these facts.” Self-proclaimed Osmint said. Supporters of the Death Penalty who commanded the Execution Department between 2003 and 2012 — One of the busy times of the Execution Chamber.


Moore’s lawyer insisted in front of the State Supreme Court this month that Moore’s crimes would not rise to the brutal level of other death penalty cases.

Recent executions in the state include men strangled for double murder and men who secretly took out life insurance before killing their wives and sons and burning their bodies.

“Richard’s case was different from theirs,” Ozmint told The Associated Press.

No one objected to Moore’s killing of Mahony, who worked at Speedy Mart in Nikki, Spartanberg County, on September 16, 1999. Mahony pulls a pistol that Moore wrestled with.

Mahony pulled the gun in 2-chome and the shootout continued. Mahony shot Moore with his arm, and Moore shot Mahony with his chest. Prosecutors said Moore left a blood mark in the store while looking for cash and stepped over Mahoney twice.


At that time, Moore claimed that Mahony acted in self-defense after pulling his first gun. His appellate lawyer said Moore didn’t bring the gun to the store and didn’t intend to kill anyone when he entered.

A lawyer at the Attorney General’s office claimed this month that Moore was trying to turn the court’s attention from “disgusting evidence presented to him” to “generality, hints, and speculation.”

Mahony’s relatives haven’t spoken publicly about the incident in recent years. According to the Spartanberg Herald Journal, the ruling described the family as a 42-year-old clerk who loved NASCAR and was a beloved uncle and friend who faithfully worked the third shift in the store.

“We are happy with the verdict and very happy with the way the case was prosecuted,” said Mahony’s father, James Mahony at the time.


According to Justice 360, a non-profit organization representing Moore and many others on death row in South Carolina, Moore, a black man, has attacked all potential African-American juries He was the last person to enter the death row cell at trial.

During Moore’s trial, the jury learned of his lap sheet, from weapons accusations to robbery and assault convictions. But in prison, Moore has grown into a man who regrets his crimes that have built a relationship between his family and his Christian faith, supporters say. During his 20 years in death row, he suffered only two minor offenses.

“His life at the Correctional Bureau was exemplary. He is a giver, not a taker,” he said.

Even with the new legislation, Moore’s fate remains a game waiting for everyone involved.

“It’s never clear, and it wonders your heart: when is the last time I talk to him? When will I see him next because of a pandemic? Moore’s daughter Alexandria Moore said, “Is this in his favor?”


Retired state legislator Gary Clary, who presided over Moore’s case as a state judge, says the proceedings inevitably follow the signing of the bill. On the house floor, he opposed a similar law, pointing out in court that it would cost more to the state.

“I think I set up his execution when the jury convicted Richard Bernard Moore … 90 days later. Clary said,” When were these arbitrary dates established? Everyone knew, but it won’t happen soon. “


Liu is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in the local newsroom to report on unreported issues.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Former prison officer seeks amnesty from a convict on death row

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