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DOJ preparing to execute 5 convicted murderers: First federal executions in 16 years

For the first time in almost two decades, the federal government is planning to execute criminals.

According to a Department of Justice press release sent out Thursday morning, Attorney General William Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a new addendum to federal protocols "clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse" and at the same time has asked BOP's acting director to schedule the executions of five convicted murderers responsible for truly heinous crimes.

Those set to be executed include:

  • A man who "emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter"
  • A man who stabbed a 63-year-old grandmother to death and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside the lifeless body before slitting the girl’s throat, crushing her head with rocks, and cutting off both victims' heads and hands
  • A man who raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl before dismembering, burning, and throwing her remains in a septic pond
  • A member of a white supremacist group who murdered a family of three
  • A man who shot 5 people to death

“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Attorney General Barr said in a statement.  “Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding.  The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

The death-row inmates in this situation, according to the release, have been convicted of murdering "the most vulnerable in our society—children and the elderly."

The last person to be executed by the federal government, as opposed to a state government, was Louis Jones Jr., a Desert Storm veteran convicted of raping and murdering a female soldier by beating her to death with a tire iron in 1995. While Obama stopped short on efforts to put an end to the practice at the federal level in 2015, his administration put a de facto moratorium on executions.

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