Sunday, 17 June 2007

Calvin Shuler scheduled to die Friday

Broad River Correctional Institution

By BRIAN TROUTMAN,T&D Online News EditorSunday, June 17, 2007

An Orangeburg native is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Friday, June 22 at the Broad River Correctional Institution for murdering an armored car guard.Calvin Shuler has been on death row since Nov. 12, 1998, when he was found guilty of the Dec. 3, 1997 murder outside a Harleyville bank.

Officials say Shuler quietly and patiently waited under a house for the armored car to make its routine stop at the bank. When it did, he made his way from under the house, pointed a gun at the driver and shouted, “Get out of the goddamn truck!” He then climbed into the armored car and engaged in a gun battle with guard James Brooks.Shuler arrived well-armed for the robbery. Records show he was toting a SKS assault rifle with a 30-round magazine and a .25-caliber handgun.Brooks lost his life as a result of the violent exchange of gunfire with Shuler, receiving numerous gunshot wounds. Brooks’ autopsy revealed Shuler continued to shoot the 77-year-old even after he had died.

Following the robbery and gun battle, Shuler dumped the armored car on a back road without any money to show for his actions – all of it was either ripped to shreds by gunfire or soaked in Brooks’ blood.Records reflect Shuler was no stranger to the armored car he robbed or the man he was convicted of murdering. Shuler was an employee of Anderson Armored Car Service and had briefly worked with his victims – Brooks, driver James Amick and Sherman Crozier.Shuler confessed to the robbery and murder when questioned by police officers and FBI agents.

Following his confession, Shuler’s home was searched and physical evidence was found in abundance, including items containing traces of Shuler’s DNA, which matched DNA found in blood inside the armored car.Shuler had been injured by fragments of bullets fired from Brooks’ gun, with several lacerations on the back of his head.Early in his trial, officers had to restrain Shuler because he attacked them in an effort to not attend his hearing.

Officers also had to place a mask on Shuler to keep him from spitting on anyone.Shuler was no stranger to violence. According to Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office records, he was arrested on Feb. 28, 1991 for threatening a police officer. He was the victim of a crime on July 26, 1995 when he was shot twice by a fellow employee at then-American Yard Products. On Nov. 11, 1995, Shuler allegedly shot a man four times.

Since 1995, death row inmates have been given a choice between death by lethal injection or electrocution. They’ve largely chosen lethal injection.Shuler is scheduled to receive his chemical cocktail at 6 p.m. Friday. His injection will most likely consist of an anesthetic (sodium thiopental), which will put him into a deep sleep; and a paralyzing agent (pancuronium bromide), which will paralyze his lungs, ending his ability to breathe. In some states, another agent is also used to induce cardiac arrest. Each drug will take approximately 1-3 minutes to work.

According to Josh Gelinas, communications director for the S.C. Department of Corrections, Shuler had not made any special requests for a last meal as of Wednesday. He has been allowed visits with his family.

T&D Online News Editor Brian Troutman can be reached at and 803-533-6114.

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