In a major decision, the Trump Administration on Thursday announced to resume capital punishment after a gap of nearly two decades and has set execution dates for five death-row inmates convicted of murdering.
"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," US Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
"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 the justice system," he said.
Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt a proposed Addendum to the Federal Bureau of Prisons- clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse, and bringing justice to victims of the most horrific crimes.
The Federal Execution Protocol Addendum, which closely mirrors protocols utilised by several states, including currently Georgia, Missouri, and Texas, replaces the three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions with a single drug - pentobarbital.
Since 2010, 14 states have used pentobarbital in over 200 executions, and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have repeatedly upheld the use of pentobarbital in executions as consistent with the Eighth Amendment, the Department of Justice said.
The five inmates who will be executed soon at a federal facility in Indiana included Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, who murdered a family of three, including an eight-year-old girl. His execution is scheduled to occur on December 9, 2019.
Lezmond Mitchell stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her nine-year-old granddaughter to sit beside her lifeless body for a 30 to 40-mile drive. Mitchell then slit the girl's throat twice, crushed her head with 20-pound rocks, and severed and buried both victims' heads and hands. His execution is scheduled to occur on December 11, 2019.
Wesley Ira Purkey violently raped and murdered a 16-year-old girl, and then dismembered, burned, and dumped the young girl's body in a septic pond. He also was convicted in state court for using a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who suffered from polio and walked with a cane, the Justice Department said. Purkey's execution is scheduled to occur on December 13, 2019.
Alfred Bourgeois physically and emotionally tortured, sexually molested, and then beat to death his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. His execution is scheduled for January 13, 2020.
Dustin Lee Honken shot and killed five people - two men who planned to testify against him and a single, working mother and her ten-year-old and six-year-old daughters. Honken's execution is scheduled to occur on January 15, 2020.