US government orders first federal executions since 2003

epa03811129 (FILE) An undated file photo from the year 2000 shows the death chamber inside the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville, Texas. The chamber is where the State of Texas executes prisoners by lethal injection. According to news reports on 02 August 2013, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said that the state's supply of pentobarbital would end in September. Pentobarbital is a drug used in executions in Texas, since July 2012. EPA/PAUL BUCK

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The US federal government is to resume executing death-row inmates after a 16-year hiatus.

Attorney General William Barr said in a statement he had directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to schedule the executions of five inmates.

Barr said the five had been convicted of murders or rapes of children or the elderly.

The executions have been scheduled for December 2019 and January 2020.

Barr’s announcement lifts what was an informal moratorium on the federal death penalty – as opposed to state-directed executions – since the 2003 execution of Louis Jones Jr, a 53-year-old a Gulf War veteran who murdered 19-year-old soldier Tracie Joy McBride.

There are 62 inmates currently on federal death row.



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