Court Battles

DOJ schedules two more federal executions

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) scheduled two more federal executions on Friday after fighting off last-minute legal challenges.

The executions of Christopher Andre Vialva and William Emmett LeCroy are both scheduled to be carried out in late September.

This past month, the federal government executed three people and scheduled two more executions for August. 

Vialva, 40, was convicted in the 1999 kidnapping and killing of an Iowa couple at Fort Hood in Texas. 

The victims were youth ministers that had stopped to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas, when they agreed to give Vialva and two others a ride, according to the DOJ. Vialva then pulled out a gun, forcing the couple into the trunk as he drove around stopping at ATMs to withdraw cash and pawn their valuables. 

Vialva killed the victims, Todd and Stacie Bagley, and set the car on fire. A co-defendant in the case, Brandon Bernard, was also sentenced to death, though his execution date has not yet been scheduled.

LeCroy, 50, was convicted of raping and killing Joann Lee Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001 and then stealing her car. 

According to prosecutors he broke into her home in Gilmer County, Ga., and attacked her when she came home from a shopping trip. 

In mid-July the Supreme Court cleared the way for federal executions to be carried out for the first time since 2003 after the conservative-majority court ruled that the lethal injection protocol the DOJ adopted last year does not amount to unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

Days later, the court lifted a series of injunctions on the Trump administration’s push to execute federal death-row inmates, clearing the way for other executions to take place. Until this year, most executions have taken place at the state level.

The removal of the injunctions came two days after Daniel Lewis Lee, a white supremacist convicted of killing a family of three in 1996, became the first federal prisoner executed in more than 17 years. Two others, Wesley Purkey and Dustin Honken, were executed later the same week. 

Tags Capital punishment executions federal executions state executions Supreme Court ruling

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