WASHINGTON — The federal government will resume executions of death-row inmates after a nearly two-decade moratorium, Attorney General William P. Barr said Thursday.
The announcement reverses what had been essentially a moratorium on the federal death penalty. The federal government has not executed an inmate since 2003, though prosecutors still seek the death penalty in some cases, including for Dylann S. Roof, an avowed white supremacist who killed nine African-American churchgoers in 2015, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber.
“Under administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals,” Mr. Barr said in a statement. “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.”
Mr. Barr said that Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, has scheduled executions in December and January for five men convicted of murder. They will take place at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., and additional executions will be scheduled later, Mr. Barr said.