U.S. to put convicted killer to death as spate of federal executions continues

By Jonathan Allen (Reuters) - The U.S. government plans to execute William LeCroy, a convicted rapist and murderer, on Tuesday, the sixth in a spate of federal executions after a long hiatus at the national level. The Department of Justice says it will put LeCroy, 50, to death using lethal injections of pentobarbital, a barbiturate, at its execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana

Reuters September 23, 2020 06:10:08 IST
U.S. to put convicted killer to death as spate of federal executions continues

US to put convicted killer to death as spate of federal executions continues

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) - The U.S. government plans to execute William LeCroy, a convicted rapist and murderer, on Tuesday, the sixth in a spate of federal executions after a long hiatus at the national level.

The Department of Justice says it will put LeCroy, 50, to death using lethal injections of pentobarbital, a barbiturate, at its execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The execution had been scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT), but was delayed as the U.S. Supreme Court weighed a petition from LeCroy to stay his execution until his lead lawyer, who has a chronic illness, could travel safely to Terre Haute without fear of getting COVID-19. The Supreme Court denied the petition on Tuesday evening.

Under President Donald Trump, who took office in early 2017 and has long been an outspoken advocate of capital punishment, the federal government has executed more men than all of Trump's predecessors combined going back to 1963.

Another execution is planned for Thursday, when Christopher Vialva, a convicted murderer, is set to become the first Black man to face the federal death penalty under Trump.

Trump's administration ended an informal 17-year-hiatus in carrying out the death sentence at the federal level after announcing last year it would use a new one-drug lethal-injection protocol, replacing the three-drug protocol used in the last federal execution in 2003.

The new protocol revived long-running legal challenges to lethal injections. Last month, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan sided with condemned men who sued the government, ruling that the Justice Department was violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in not seeking a doctor's prescription to issue the highly regulated drug.

But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the violation did not itself amount to "irreparable harm" and allowed executions to proceed.

Chutkan previously issued multiple orders halting planned executions while litigation continued. Those were each overturned by either the Circuit Court or the U.S. Supreme Court, whose conservative majority said that legal challenges to pentobarbital injections, which are also used by several state governments to execute prisoners, were unlikely to prevail.

LeCroy was convicted and sentenced to death in Georgia in 2004 for the carjacking, rape and murder of Joann Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, after breaking into her home. He was caught two days later in Tiesler's vehicle at the U.S.-Canadian border with notes scribbled on the back of a torn map, according to prosecutors.

"Please, please, please forgive me Joanne," read one note by LeCroy, who misspelled the victim's name. "You were an angel and I killed you. Now I have to live with that and I can never go home. I am a vagabond and doomed to hell."

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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