Adams Run couple's killer opts for electric chair


COLUMBIA — A man set to be executed next week for the murders of his ex-girlfriend's parents in their Adams Run home has chosen to die by electrocution, the Department of Corrections announced Tuesday.

The state Supreme Court has set James Earl Reed's execution date as June 20, Corrections Department spokesman Josh Gelinas said Tuesday.

No one has been put to death in South Carolina's electric chair since 2004, when James Neil Tucker was put to death for killing two women 12 years earlier. Under South Carolina law, anyone sentenced to death may choose the electric chair or lethal injection.

Reed, 49, acted as his own lawyer during his 1996 trial. Prosecutors said Reed killed Joseph and Barbara Lafayette in their home in 1994 while he was looking for his ex-girlfriend. Reed denied the killings and argued that no physical evidence placed him at the scene, despite his confession to police and three witnesses who said they saw him come out of the couple's home.

Reed would be the 280th person put to death in South Carolina and the 248th to die in the state's electric chair, which was built in 1912. He would be the third to be electrocuted since the state first offered lethal injection in 1995.

Reed would be the second man executed in the state this month. On June 6, David Mark Hill was put to death for the 1994 killings of three Aiken County social workers he blamed for the breakup of his family.

Eight other states conduct executions by electrocution, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. A Tennessee man was the last man executed by electric chair in the U.S., according to DPIC. Daryl Horton was executed in September 2007 for killing his three sons and their half-sister.