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U.S. Military May Perform First Execution In Over 50 Years


Former U.S. Army soldier and current death row inmate Ronald Gray could face military execution after a U.S. District Judge denied his bid for a stay.

According to Judge J. Thomas Marten of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, the previous stay of execution granted to Gray is “no longer in effect,” which will enable the military to carry out capital punishment.

Gray, who was convicted and condemned to death in military court in 1988, was found guilty of two rapes and three murders in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Gray was stationed at Fort Bragg and served as a cook at the time.

Gray further admitted to two additional killings and five rapes in civilian court.

Gray came close to execution in 2008, when then-President George W. Bush signed a warrant authorizing his execution, however, a federal court granted Gray a reprieve at the last-minute. That temporary stay has since expired.

If Gray is put to death, it will mark the first military execution in over fifty years. The last convict to face military execution was John Bennett, who was hung at Fort Leavenworth prison in 1961 for the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl.

Although death by hanging has been phased out as a means of capital punishment, the military currently authorizes death by lethal injection.

And while a military appeals court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional in 1983 due to military sentencing guidelines, such punishment was soon reinstated by President Ronald Reagan.

Furthermore, no service member can be executed unless the president confirms the penalty and the president also has the power to commute the death sentence.

In addition to Gray, there are currently five other former servicemen currently awaiting execution on death row, including the infamous Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who was convicted on 13 counts of murder and 32 counts of attempted murder following his 2009 assault on Fort Hood.

As to whether Army has plans for an execution, the matter is still unclear, as current legal actions are still pending.

“As there are still pending legal actions associated with the case of Inmate Ronald A. Gray, it would be inappropriate to comment,” said Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson.

Army regulations could permit an execution as soon as within the next 30 days. Gray’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

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H/T westernjournalism.com

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