U.S. Military May Perform First Execution In Over 50 Years
Ronald Gray, a former U.S. Army soldier convicted of raping and murdering several women, may be the first prisoner executed by the U.S. Military since 1961. Gray has been on death row since 1988, and last week Judge J. Thomas Marten of the US District Court for the District of Kansas stated Gray’s stay of execution was “no longer in effect,” meaning any further requests to have the date of his execution extended will be blocked.
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Gray is one of six former service members currently on death row at Fort Leavenworth. He was condemned to death by a military court in 1988 for carrying out two murders and three rapes in North Carolina while stationed at Fort Bragg. Gray narrowly escaped death in 2008 when President Bush signed a warrant that would authorize his execution. A federal court granted gray a temporary stay, delaying the execution.
No date has been set for Gray’s execution. However, Army regulations state that a date may be set sometime in the next 30 days. Once approved, Gray’s execution will be the first carried out since 1961 when John Bennett was hanged at Fort Leavenworth Prison, Kansas for the rape and attempted murder of an 11-year-old girl. The Army currently uses lethal injection as their method of execution.
The death penalty must be confirmed by the President before it can be carried out. The President also has the power to commute Gray’s sentence should he deem it appropriate.
The Army has declined to comment on Gray’s case.