cop killer Bobby Wayne Stone has spent 20 of his 52 years of life on South Carolina’s death row. He fatally shot Sumter County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Charlie Kubala in 1996. Only three days after the state’s Department of Corrections (DOC) received notice from the South Carolina Supreme Court that Stone is set for execution by lethal injection, on December 1, did Governor Henry McMaster announce yesterday that Stone might not be put to death for a while longer.

The state is unable to obtain each of the three drugs used in the lethal injection protocol.

South Carolina doesn’t have shield laws protecting the names of pharmaceutical companies or compounding pharmacies from disclosure. The effect, as the governor spelled out, is that the state cannot find such a pharmacy to provide the drugs.

No shield law, no death drugs

Governor McMaster said South Carolina made a concerted effort to obtain the drugs, but drug makers are “afraid their names will be made known,” NBC and additional news agencies relayed. The compounding pharmacies fear retribution and “don’t want to have anything to do with it,” McMaster said. The execution of Stone, as a result, is stymied and the state “can’t do anything about it.”

South Carolina’s three-drug death blend is comprised of the anesthetic pentobarbital, the paralytic pancuronium bromide, and the heart-stopper potassium chloride.

In 2013, the state’s pentobarbital expired. Bryan Stirling is the state’s DOC director.

Drug makers refuse selling products for executions

He said that officials have tried for four years now to obtain more of the drug, but the state has had no such luck. Drug makers simply refuse to sell their products as long as it is disclosed that the companies are supplying pharmaceuticals for use during executions, according to the New York Times.

State officials, such as Stirling, have endeavored for lawmakers to pass a shield law so that the names of drug suppliers are not disclosed publicly. As long as the companies are exposed to potential retribution, executions are hindered. In South Carolina, there are 39 killers on death row. Governor McMaster said that as long as legislators fail to pass a shield law families such as Kabala’s won’t have justice, the Times noted.

Cop killer not executed without federal appeal exhausted

Regardless of the death drug shortage, South Carolina would not have executed the cop killer, Stone, December 1. According to Columbia attorney Diana Holt, Stone has not exhausted all hope. Holt, who has had several death row inmate-clients, pointed to the fact that the inmate slated for execution has time to file an appeal relevant to “federal habeas corpus,” which is the last step of appealing his case. The Times reported that it takes time for such a case to go through the judicial process.

Governor McMaster intends to ask South Carolina’s General Assembly “to pass a shield law quickly,” NBC reported. Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas each have shield laws, WYFF 4 noted. The earliest a state shield law could be passed would be the next legislative session.