William Barr orders federal government to revive death penalty

The federal death penalty has returned to life after nearly 20 years.

US Attorney General William Barr has ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to change its policy on capital punishment and execute five death-row inmates convicted of heinous crimes against children and the elderly, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice.

“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,” 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 our justice system.”

The five facing death are Daniel Lewis Lee, Lezmond Mitchell, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois and Dustin Lee Honken, according to the Justice Department.

Each inmate “has exhausted their appellate and post-conviction remedies, and currently no legal impediments prevent their executions,” the DOJ said.

All five will be killed at the US Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana, and the DOJ said it is planning other executions for a later date.

Capital punishment was ruled unconstitutional in 1974 and reinstated in 1988. The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 expanded the number of offenses that could lead to execution, but the measure was still rarely used.

The last person to be executed by the federal government was Louis Jones, who was killed in 2003 by lethal injection in Texas on a conviction for kidnapping that resulted in death, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

With Post wires

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