South Carolina Halts Execution of Brad Sigmon Ahead of June 18, 2021

Brad Sigmon, South Carolina

Updated: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The South Carolina Supreme Court has halted the executions of Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens. Both men were scheduled to be executed by electrocution, as no other execution method is viable in the state. South Carolina does not have drugs to carry out an execution by lethal injection, and the state cannot obtain the drugs in time. Recently, lawmakers in South Carolina passed a bill that also permitted execution by firing squad, however the state does not, and never has, had a protocol in place to carry out an execution in such manner. In its unanimous decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that corrections officials need to establish a firing squad protocol so that “the statutory right of inmates to elect the manner of their execution” is upheld.

Updated: Monday, June 14, 2021

Brad Keith Sigmon is scheduled to be executed on Friday, June 18, 2021, at the Broad River Capital Punishment Facility, at the Broad River Correctional Institute, in Columbia, South Carolina. Sixty-three-year-old Brad is convicted of murdering David and Gladys Larke, in their home in 2002. Brad has been on death row in South Carolina for the last 18 years.

Brad did not have an easy childhood, as he was often neglected. Brad has an extensive history of drugs use. Brad also suffered from a recurrent major depressive disorder and a chemical dependency disorder.

Brad Sigmon and Rebecca Larke began dating in 1999. Their relationship became intimate and by 2002, they were living together in a trailer, next to the trailer of David and Gladys Larke, Rebecca’s parents. In 2002, Rebecca informed Sigmon that she did not want to see him anymore and asked him to move out. David also served Sigmon with eviction papers.

Approximately one week after Sigmon was asked to leave, he was smoking crack cocaine and drinking with his friend Eugene Strube, in Rebecca’s trailer. While doing drugs and drinking, Sigmon made a plan to tie up Rebecca’s parents and kidnap Rebecca.

The following day, after Rebecca left the trailer, Sigmon and Strube left Rebecca’s trailer, however on the way to her parents’ trailer, Strube decided he no longer wanted to participate and left. Sigmon grabbed a baseball bat and entered the trailer belonging to David and Gladys.

Upon seeing Sigmon, David told Gladys to grab his gun. Before she could do so, Sigmon hit David over the head with the baseball bat several times. Sigmon then ran after Gladys, hitting her several times. Sigmon returned to where David lay, and hit him several more times because he was still moving. Sigmon then checked on Gladys, saw she was still moving, and hit her several more times.

Sigmon took David’s gun and waited for Rebecca to return home. He forced her into a vehicle, planning to drive the two of them to North Carolina. However, Rebecca managed to jump out of the car. Sigmon shot at her, but fled when he read out of bullets. Rebecca was injured, but was able to contact the police and tell them what happened. Police went to check on her parents and discovered that both had died from their injuries.

Sigmon was later arrested in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where he was located after he called his mother, who agreed to help the police. After his arrest, Sigmon confessed to the murders of David and Gladys. He also admitted to intending to murder Rebecca and then commit suicide. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.

This is not Sigmon’s first execution. He was scheduled to be executed in February of this year, however his execution was stayed because South Carolina did not have execution drugs. The state still does not have execution drugs, however a new law has recently passed, allowing for execution by firing squad or electric chair, with the electric chair now being the default option. Sigmon, along with fellow death row inmate Freddie Owens, is currently suing the state, arguing that they cannot be executed by firing squad or electric chair, as they were sentenced to death under a law that made lethal injection the default method of execution. South Carolina has not carried out an execution by lethal injection since 2011. They have struggled to find a source for their execution drugs, as the state does not have a secrecy law that would protect the identity of the supplier from becoming public knowledge. Sigmon has also filed a lawsuit arguing that South Carolina has not exhausted all possible options of obtaining lethal injection drugs.

Circuit Court Judge Jocelyn Newman has issued a ruling that the scheduled executions of Brad Sigmon and Freddie Owens can be carried out. The men had filed a joint appeal seeking an injunction to halt their executions due to a new execution law forcing them to choose between a firing squad and electrocution. In the appeal, the men argue that these two methods are less humane than lethal injection, which is also permissible under South Carolina law, however the state is currently unable to obtain execution drugs. Additionally, the men argue that the new law is unconstitutional because they were sentenced to death under a law in which lethal injection was the default method. The men are continuing their appeals in an attempt to halt their executions. In a separate lawsuit, Judge Robert Bryan Harwell also ruled against both inmates. Freddie and Brad were arguing that the electric chair is unconstitutional, as it violates their 8th Amendment rights, which protects against cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Harwell ruled that their argument was unlikely to succeed in court and refused to grant an injunction halting the execution.

Pray for peace and healing for the family of David and Gladys. Pray for strength for the family of Brad. Pray that if Brad is innocent, lacks the competency to be executed or should not be executed for any other reason, that evidence will be provided prior to his execution. Pray that Brad may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already.

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