South Carolina on Friday executed a man who strangled his cellmate, using a new combination of lethal injection drugs for the first time.
Jeffrey Motts, 36, was declared dead at 6:17 p.m. He was given the sedative pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental as part of the lethal three drug combination because federal agents seized the states supply as part of a nationwide investigation into whether prisons obtained the drugs illegally from England.
Motts was sentenced to death for killing his cellmate at a state prison in Greenville County in 2005. He was already serving a life sentence for killing two elderly people during a Spartanburg County robbery in 1995.
Motts, strapped to a gurney in a green jumpsuit, never looked at the witnesses. It took him about 90 seconds to stop breathing after the lethal drugs began flowing through an IV. He took several heavy breaths, blinked and his head jerked slightly for about a minute before his breaths became shallow and eventually stopped.
His eyes slowly closed, never to open again.