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Two Executioners Sue S.C. Prison System


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11/17/2008
Larry
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Two former state Department of Corrections (DOC) executioners in South Carolina state prison system filed federal lawsuits claiming they lacked training to personally carry out state-mandated executions and that they would lose their jobs if they refused.

Terry Bracey and Ira Craig Baxley – who each worked for the prison system over 20 years -- sued Jon Ozmint, director of the state’s prison system, and Robert Ward, director of operations for the agency, according to greenvilleonline.com. Each man retired on disability and has a workers’ compensation claim pending.

Greenvilleonline.com said the suits detail incidents of "accidental malfunctions of death apparatus," where a lethal injection syringe fell out of a person’s arm and administering death by electric chair, where they witness “shocking smell and scene of agony.”

One plaintiff alleges the prison officials "began a ruthless and unrelenting campaign of retaliation, harassments, threats and criticisms resulting in physical and emotional collapse." The pair is suing for loss of quality of life, shock, humiliation/embarrassment and loss of earning capacity, according to the heraldonline.com.

Baxley is seeking $1 million in damages. Bracey is seeking $5 million.

DOC spokesman Josh Gelinas said, "Anyone can file a lawsuit filled with false allegations. Some lawyers will file anything and send out a press release announcing it."

Greenvilleonline.com reported the State Law Enforcement Division and the Legislative Audit Council was asked by Sen. Mike Fair to examine allegations against the prison system earlier this year. Ozmint said they were "reckless and false."

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