Federal Executions

US executes second death row inmate in two days


US executes second death row inmate in two days

US executes second death row inmate in two days

A death row inmate was executed on Friday, the second to be killed in two days.

Alfred Bourgeois, 56, was sentenced in 2004 after abusing, sexually assaulting, then killing his two-year-old daughter in Texas while working as a long-haul truck driver. 

His lawyers had argued he has a severe intellectual disability and shouldn’t be executed.

He was convicted for his role in a murder as a teenager in 1999. He’s the youngest person executed by the federal government in nearly 70 years.

Both men were executed via lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Federal executions had been paused since 2003 until the Trump administration restarted them earlier this year. 

Three more executions are scheduled before the president leaves office on 20 January. 

If they proceed, Mr Trump will have overseen the most executions of any administration in more than a century, according to the BBC, further departing from the 130-year old precedent of pausing executions during the presidential handoff.  

Joe Biden, once a supporter of the death penalty, has said he’ll seek to end it once in office.

Civil rights advocates like Sister Helen Prejean have long derided America’s reliance on the death penalty as morally abhorrent, and called the Trump administration’s stepped-up enforcement a “killing spree.”

“This shameful killing spree must end,” Ms Prejean said in November.

Earlier this year, in announcing a slate of executions, attorney general William Barr defended the practice, saying victims of heinous crimes deserved the relief, and that both parties had supported the punishment.

“The American people, acting through Congress and Presidents of both political parties, have long instructed that defendants convicted of the most heinous crimes should be subject to a sentence of death,” he said in June. “We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes, and to the families left behind, to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

Researchers have also noted that Black people in the US remain overrepresented on death row, and that Black people who kill white people are far more likely to be sentenced to death that white people who kill black people. In September, of the 56 inmates then on federal death row, nearly half were Black, even though African-Americans make up only about 13 per cent of the population.

Two of the remaining three people the Trump administration plans to execute are Black: Corey Johnson, convicted of murdering seven people, and Dustin John Higgs, convicted of murdering three young women.

Mr Johnson’s lawyers argue he has an intellectual disability related to abuse he suffered as a child.

The third inmate scheduled for execution is Lisa Montgomery, who killed a pregnant women in Missouri and kidnapped the baby she was carrying. 

Her lawyers also argue she has serious mental illness problems, after being beaten to the point of brain damage as a child.

Over the last few years, following high-profile cases where police shot people of colour and the resulting Black Lives Matter protests, Americans have been having more conversations about race and the criminal justice system. 


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