Justice Department to restart federal executions for 1st time in 16 years
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department says it will carry out executions of federal death row inmates for the first time since 2003.
The department says five inmates will be executed, starting in December.
In 2014, President Barack Obama directed the department to conduct a review of capital punishment and issues surrounding lethal injection drugs. That review resulted in what effectively was a freeze on executions.
The department says the Bureau of Prisons has completed the review and the executions can continue.
Federal prosecutors are weighing whether to seek the death penalty on accused Tree of Life synagogue gunman Robert Bowers.
Bowers is accused of opening fire inside Tree of Life on Oct. 27, killing 11 worshippers among three congregations. Two other congregants were hurt. Five police officers were wounded in a shootout with Bowers.
Bowers has pleaded not guilty to 63 federal charges filed against him, 22 of which are punishable by death.
Federal prosecutors have not yet made a decision as to whether they will seek the death penalty.
The only man from Pennsylvania currently facing federal execution is Philadelphia drug kingpin Kaboni Savage. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2013 for his involvement in the killings of 12 people. While in jail, Savage ordered a firebombing that killed six members of a federal witness’s family, including several children.