A Sumter man convicted of murder for the 1996 slaying of Sumter County Sheriff's Sgt. Charlie Kubala will be executed after more than 20 years on death row, marking what will be the first execution in South Carolina in more than six years.
The State Department of Corrections announced Friday it had received an order from the state Supreme Court setting a Dec. 1 execution date for 52-year-old Bobby Wayne Stone, who was convicted in 1997 of the Feb. 26, 1996, murder of Kubala. The order was issued after the court denied Stone’s most recent appeal.
Third Judicial Circuit Ernest A. “Chip” Finney III said he was notified by the state attorney general’s office of the scheduled execution.
“It is my understanding they expect them to file a federal appeal,” he said.
If Stone is executed on Dec. 1, it will be the state’s first execution since 2011.
South Carolina uses lethal injection as its execution method, though inmates have the choice to opt for electrocution. The state's protocol requires three drugs. Other states have gone to using a single drug after controversy over effectiveness and morality.
According to previous reports and documents, Stone admitted he shot Kubala as the officer responded to a call about an attempted burglary but said the shooting was accidental.
Kubala, 32, had been with sheriff's office for nine years and left behind a wife and two children.
Stone was originally convicted of murder, first-degree burglary and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in January 1997.
He received a death sentence for the murder conviction and other sentences for the burglary and weapons convictions.
Stone's appeals were based on the effectiveness of his lawyer and other issues and have been heard in both state and federal courts, according to reports. In 2002, in a direct appeal, Stone's death sentence was reversed by the state Supreme Court, even though the issue of guilt was never overturned.
After a resentencing trial, Stone was again sentenced to death in February 2005 and placed back on death row. That death sentence was later affirmed on appeal.
In a July 2016 interview with The Sumter Item, Kubala’s mother, Peggy Kubala, said she and her family have been able to press forward since her son was murdered.
"It's a long road afterward," she said.
Kubala commended local efforts to help support her son's family and other local families of fallen officers with the Charlie Kubala Memorial Trust and the annual Charlie Kubala Memorial Golf Tournament.