The federal government plans to execute a former solider after a judge lifted a stay of execution last week that stood for eight years, the Fayetteville Observer reports.
A Jury convicted Ronald Gray in 1988 of two murders and three rapes while stationed at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The former Army cook also pleaded guilty to two other murders and five rapes in civilian courts. He’s on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
During the legal battle, the Observer said Gray’s defense team has centered its appeal on the argument that the military court lacks jurisdiction to prosecute him. However, U.S. District Court Judge J. Thomas Marten, who has presided over the case since 2014, has consistently ruled that the defense has failed to prove that a legal error occurred.
President George W. Bush signed a warrant in 2008 that authorized Gray’s execution, which is required for military executions, according to CNN. If the military goes forward with its plans, Gray’s execution would be the first since 1961, when the military hanged John A. Bennett for rape and attempted murder.
The Death Penalty Information Center, a District of Columbia-based group, reports that six men are currently on the military’s death row. Three of them are African-American.