Attorney General William Barr announced that for the first time since 2003 the federal government will resume capital punishment. This will include the scheduled execution of five death row inmates who were found guilty of murdering children. The first execution is scheduled to take place on December 9, 2019 and a single drug, pentobarbital, will be used for the lethal injection.
Barr issued a statement Thursday announcing the change. “Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” he wrote.
He added: “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. 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 our justice system.”
DOJ announced that the federal government is going to resume capital punishment, and AG Bill Bar has directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule executions for five death-row inmates pic.twitter.com/7usR1jX2IG
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 25, 2019
The executions of the five inmates already scheduled for execution will begin on December 9, 2019. According to AJC, Daniel Lewis Lee, who killed a family of three in Arkansas in 1999 and was suspected of being a white supremacist, will be the first to be put to death.
The five inmates were convicted of “murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society — children and the elderly.”
The Federal Bureau of Prisons plans to use lethal injection to conduct the executions. In the early 2000s, the death penalty became a controversial topic after activist groups were able to prove the innocence of several people who had already been put to death.
There has been a shortage of Pentobarbital, the drug to be used in the lethal injections, and it’s unclear if the government has a plan to obtain more.
Additionally, executions have steadily declined throughout the United States as many felt African Americans were disproportionately impacted, The Hill reported.
It’s important to note all five inmates scheduled for execution have used up all their appeals, which leaves them with no other course of action to fight the execution ruling.