A man named Richard Moore, aged 57, while imprisoned on death row, had to decide between the electric chair or the firing squad. He chose the second option, but his execution for the murder of a supermarket employee during a robbery in 1999 in South Carolina, in the southern United States, was suspended by the state Supreme Court.
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The case draws attention to the methods used to take the lives of prisoners.
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In American states that adopt the death penalty in the country, the last executions of convicts were using lethal injection. However, the method is being abandoned in South Carolina because drug manufacturers refuse to supply the necessary ingredients.
50 countries have the death penalty as a legal process
The sentencing of a person to death occurs through a judicial decision called a death sentence, while the process that leads to death is called execution. Sentencing varies according to the laws of each country.
The most likely reasons for this conviction include homicides, espionage, false prophecy, rape, adultery, homosexuality, corruption, drug trafficking, not following the official religion or disrespecting some standard of social or cultural behavior.
Execution by firing squad occurs in the United States, China, Somalia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, Guatemala and Vietnam, among other countries.
A squad of armed men is positioned approximately 6 meters away from the victim, who may be standing or sitting, and simultaneously shoots at him.
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The victim suffers injuries to several parts of the body at the same time, therefore, death can occur due to hemorrhage or direct injury to the central nervous system by the projectile, in the case of a bullet hitting the head immediately.
This method of execution is also widely used in cases of war crimes. Even countries that do not apply the death penalty in other circumstances, such as Brazil, provide for military shooting.
It is only in the United States that the Electric Chair is one of the penalties resulting from the death sentence.
The condemned man is trapped in a chair. Electrodes with sponges soaked in saline solution are attached to the legs and head — to close the circuit — and a metal helmet is placed on the skull to conduct electrical current. At least two shocks of 500 to 2 thousand volts are applied for about 30 seconds. If the convict survives the first discharge, the process is repeated as many times as necessary.
What happens: The electricity stops some vital functions, such as controlling the heartbeat and breathing rhythm, in addition, all the muscles in the victim’s body contract and arrhythmia and cardiac arrest occur.
Stoning is a common practice in Middle Eastern countries, being considered legal in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, for example. It also occurs in Nigeria, Pakistan, among other countries.
In general, this is a penalty applied in so-called “honor crimes”, committed by women in Muslim countries, which is why the executioners are men — members of the family and the local community.
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The victim is wrapped from head to toe in white cloth and placed in a ditch. The executioners form a circle around her and pick up the stones, which must not be too large to ensure a slow and painful death.
The person who initiates the stoning is usually the sentencing judge, followed by the jurors and the public. Stones cause several traumas to the victim’s body, but death occurs mainly from blows to the head that cause intracranial hemorrhages.
Execution by hanging is one of the best known around the world as it is frequently portrayed in films and series. In the United States, it is provided for by law, but has not been used since 1996. It is also used in China, Guatemala and Iraq, among other countries.
To ensure that the execution takes place successfully, the rope is boiled and twisted so that it does not curl or become crooked. The knot is lubricated with soap to ensure sliding. A trapdoor is opened under the prisoner, who falls and hangs by the rope around his neck.
There are two types of death by hanging: in long rope hanging, there is a fracture of the cervical vertebrae and injury to the spinal cord. In this case, the individual dies in less than a minute. On the short rope, death from asphyxiation occurs. There are convulsions and the prisoner urinates and defecates. This death can last up to 20 minutes
It is used in China, Guatemala, as well as 37 of the 38 states in the United States, among other countries. It has a low degree of suffering for the condemned.
The person is strapped to a stretcher, where a member of the execution committee places heartbeat sensors on their body. Two probes are inserted into veins in the arms, one injects saline solution, which will later be replaced by poison, while the other is only activated in the event of a failure in the main system.
After the execution is authorized, the probe injects a sedative so that the condemned person falls asleep, then he receives curare and, finally, potassium chloride.
Upon receiving curare, the person’s body suffers paralysis throughout the muscular system. After the injection of potassium chloride, she suffered cardiac arrest and death.
This method is only used in 4 countries: Saudi Arabia, China, Guatemala and Iraq.
When just one sword strike is enough to decapitate the victim, death occurs within a few seconds, but, due to the fact that the muscles and vertebrae of the neck are rigid, decapitation may require more than one blow.
Death occurs due to the cutting of the spinal cord, which houses cells that transmit vital impulses from the brain to the organs. As a result, the heartbeat and breathing stop immediately, and the individual’s consciousness lasts less than 3 seconds.