US federal government executions continue as convicted rapist, murderer put to death

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Another execution was slated for Thursday, when Christopher Vialva, a convicted murderer, is set to become the first black man to face the federal death penalty under Trump.

The Trump administration ended a 17-year informal hiatus in federal executions in July, after announcing last year that the Bureau of Prisons was switching to a new single-drug protocol for lethal injections, from a combination of three drugs that he last used in 2003..

William LeCroy. Photo by Handout

The new protocol reignited long-standing legal challenges to lethal injections. Last month, a federal judge in Washington, DC, ruled that the Department of Justice was breaking the food, drug and cosmetic law by not seeking a doctor’s order to administer the highly regulated barbiturate.

But an appeals court ruled that the violation did not in itself constitute “irreparable harm” and allowed federal executions to continue. Several state governments also use pentobarbital injections in executions.

Asked moments before his execution if he had any final words, LeCroy replied that his spiritual advisor, Sister Barbara Battista, “is about to receive my final statement in the Postal Service.

LeCroy was convicted and sentenced to death in Georgia in 2004 for the carjacking, rape and stabbing death of Joann Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, after breaking into her home. He was taken two days later in Tiesler’s vehicle at the US-Canada border with notes scribbled on the back of a torn card, prosecutors said.

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