For the first time in over sixteen years, the federal government will resume using the death penalty, Attorney General William Barr announced on Thursday. He said that five federal inmates would be put to death for their crimes. The first execution is scheduled for December 9, 2019.
“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 written statement released by the Justice Department.
Five execution dates were announced by Barr for five inmates convicted of murder, starting with Daniel Lewis Lee, who murdered a family of three in Arkansas and was found guilty in May of 1999.
“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 added. The last federal execution took place in 2003.