Joseph Carl Shaw

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Joseph Carl Shaw (March 31, 1955 – January 11, 1985) was the first person to be put to death by the State of South Carolina after the U.S. Supreme Court reauthorized the use of capital punishment by the states in 1976.

Known by his nickname of "J.C.", Joseph Carl Shaw grew up in the small town of Jeffersontown, Kentucky. He attended St. Edward Catholic grade school, where he served as an altar boy and played tackle on the football team. After leaving St. Edward he moved on to Jeffersontown High School, but dropped out before graduating. He married Karen Neigrich but the relationship didn't last long, and J.C. moved on to join the U.S. Army as a military policeman.

It was during this period in 1977 that Shaw, then aged 22, committed the crimes which would land him on South Carolina's death row. Shaw and two teenaged accomplices, James Terry Roach, 17, and Ronald Mahaffey, 16, participated in the murders of three people in Columbia, SC. The first victim was a fellow serviceman's wife, Betty Swank, who was raped and then killed. The other two victims were a teenaged couple, Thomas Scofield Taylor, 17, and Carlotta Hartness, 14. Carlotta Hartness was raped repeatedly before being killed. Shaw allegedly returned to the scene of the crime over a period of several days to have sex with the corpse.

Shaw was electrocuted at the Central Correctional Institution in Columbia, on January 11, 1985 at the age of 29.