Government of the United States (US) will begin federal executions on July 13, the Justice Department said Monday, after 17 years.
Only three federal executions have occurred since the US government restored the death penalty in 1988.
General Attorney Bill Barr announced a year ago that he intends to resume the use of the death penalty for federal crimes. Five convicted killers were scheduled to undergo lethal injections at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana in December 2019 and January of this year.
But at the last minute, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to lift a ban on federal executions, arguing the moratorium on executions would be checked by an appeals court — “in the light of what’s at stake.”
In April, an appeals court in Washington permitted the use of pentobarbital for lethal injections, and Barr ordered four of the five convicts to set new dates for execution.
“We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes,” Barr said in a statement.
The Bureau of Prisons, following his order, scheduled the executions between July 13 and August 28.
Among the four are Daniel Lewis Lee, who was sentenced to death for the murder of a family of three in 1996, including a child of eight.
Earlene Peterson, the mother of one of his victims, opposes Lee ‘s request to US President Donald Trump to grant Lee clemency.
“I can’t see how executing Daniel Lee will honor my daughter in any way,” Peterson said in a video posted online. “In fact, kind of like it dirties her name because she wouldn’t want it and I don’t want it.”
Trump did not concede her appeal, however.
Support for the death penalty has declined in recent years, according to the details, and is down from 80 per cent in the early 1990s to around 54 per cent.
Only a handful of states still perform executions, mainly in the south of the US. In 2019 twenty-two people were executed.