Ricky Blackwell, Sr.—white, age 50

Sentenced to death in Spartanburg, South Carolina
By: a jury
Date of crime: 7/8/09
Prosecution’s case/defense response: In an act of revenge, Blackwell kidnapped and shot to death 8-year-old Heather Brooke Center, the daughter of a man who had established a relationship with Blackwell’s estranged wife. The defense asserted that Blackwell was mentally retarded.
Sources: Greenville News 1/30/14, Spartanburg Herald Journal 3/13/14, 3/16/14

Luzenski Cottrell—black—age 25 (re-sentence after appellate reversal)

Sentenced to death in Horry County, South Carolina
By: A jury
Date of crime: 12/29/02
Prosecution case/defense response: On December 29, 2002, Officer Joe McGarry came into contact with Luzenski Cottrell, who was a suspect in a Horry County homicide. When Cottrell attempted walk away from Officer McGarry, a struggled ensued—Officer McGarry was then fatally shot execution-style. In April of 2005, Cottrell was convicted of the fatal shooting of Officer McGarry. The evidence conflicted regarding whether the officer acted properly in pulling his gun when he observed the defendant carrying a weapon, or whether the officer improperly assaulted the defendant when the defendant was trying to exercise his right to walk away—in the latter circumstance entitled Cottrell to a voluntary manslaughter instruction, which he did not receive at the original trial. Thus, the case was appealed to the South Carolina Supreme Court and reversed due to an error involving the jury’s instruction of a lesser-included offense. In September of 2014, it took jurors nearly the same amount of time to convict Cottrell of the shooting death of Officer McGarry. The defense argued Cottrell acted in self-defense, but for prosecutors, this was nothing other than an execution.
Sources: 376 S.C. 260.