First US Military Execution Since 1961 Scheduled for December

UPDATE: The United States District Court for the District of Kansas entered a stay of execution in Private Ron Gray's case on November 26. The U.S. military had scheduled its first execution since 1961 for December 10. Two decades ago, Pvt. Ronald Gray was convicted and sentenced to death by a general court-martial panel at Fort Bragg for murder and rape committed in the Fayetteville area of North Carolina. Earlier, a North Carolina civilian court had convicted him of the same crimes, but that court sentenced him to a series of life terms, rather than death.

Two decades ago, Pvt. Ronald Gray was convicted and sentenced to death by a general court-martial panel at Fort Bragg for murder and rape committed in the Fayetteville area of North Carolina. Earlier, a North Carolina civilian court had convicted him of the same crimes, but that court sentenced him to a series of life terms, rather than death.

In July, President George W. Bush approved the Army’s request to execute Gray. He has been on the military’s death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, since 1988, and is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection by soldiers at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana, which has been the site of executions under the federal death penalty. While the Army has scheduled the execution, there are still important legal issues in the case that have not been fully reviewed.

The last U.S. military execution was in 1961. President John F. Kennedy commuted a military death sentence in 1962. There are currently 9 men on the military death row.

(CNN, “First military execution since 1961 scheduled next month,” November 20, 2008). See also U.S. Military and Federal Death Row.

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