Two more US federal execution dates set for September

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The US Justice Department has scheduled two additional federal executions, an announcement that comes weeks after it fought off last-minute legal challenges and successfully resumed federal executions following a 17-year pause.

The executions of Christopher Andre Vialva and William Emmett LeCroy are both scheduled to be carried out in late September.

The government carried out three executions in July, and two other executions had been set previously for August.

Vialva, 40, was convicted along with a co-defendant in the 1999 kidnapping and killing of an Iowa couple at Fort Hood in Texas.

The youth ministers had stopped to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas, and agreed to give Vialva and two others a ride, authorities said.

Vialva pulled out a gun, forced the couple into the boot and drove around for several hours, stopping at ATMs to withdraw cash and attempting to pawn the woman’s wedding ring, according to prosecutors.

The victims, Todd and Stacie Bagley, were both shot in head and placed in boot of their car, which then was set afire.

Vialva, who is the first black inmate to be scheduled to be executed since the federal government resumed the death penalty this year, is scheduled to be executed on September 24.

A co-defendant in the case, Brandon Bernard, also received death sentence, though his execution date has not yet been scheduled.

LeCroy, 50, of Georgia, was convicted of raping and killing Joann Lee Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001 and then stealing her car.

Prosecutors said he broke into her home and attacked her when she came home from a shopping trip, binding her hands behind her back before he strangled her with an electrical cord and raped her.

They said he then slit Ms Tiesler’s throat and stabbed her repeatedly in the back.

At the time, one of LeCroy’s lawyers argued he should face state charges and not be tried in federal court under the federal carjacking statute.

LeCroy’s lawyers said he had no intention of stealing the car when he was burgling Ms Tiesler’s home.

He was arrested at the US-Canada border and was previously convicted of firearms and drug offences, burglary, aggravated assault and child sex abuse charges.

LeCroy is scheduled to be executed on September 26.

The resumption of federal executions by lethal injection at a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, started on July 14, with the execution of former white supremacist Daniel Lewis Lee.

Two others, Wesley Purkey and Dustin Honken, were executed later the same week.

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