Washington – The U.S. government has executed the seventh inmate and first Black man since the resumption of the federal death penalty, a media witness on the scene said.
Inmate Christopher Vialva, 40, was executed Thursday afternoon for killing two youth ministers in the state of Texas in 2000.
Time of death was 6:42 p.m. 10:42 p.m. GMT, WHTI correspondent Alia Blackburn said in a tweet.
Vialva’s lawyer claimed that racial bias had a role in his sentence.
Hours before the execution, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Vialva’s request for a stay.
In July 2019, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a proposed Addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol.
That cleared the way for the U.S. government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse, and bringing justice to victims of the most horrific crimes.
The attorney general further directed the Acting Director of the BOP, Hugh Hurwitz, to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in the society – children and the elderly.
“Congress has expressly authorised the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President.
“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,” Barr said.