The U.S. military may execute its first soldier in more than 50 years after a judge denied murderer and rapist Ronald Gray’s bid for a stay of execution.
Gray, who’s been convicted of murdering and raping numerous women, sits on death row at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, and while he has relied on a previously issued stay of execution, that stay is no longer in effect, CNN reports.
Judge J. Thomas Marten denied Gray’s request for an extension originally granted in 2008 by the U.S. District Court in Kansas, in effect bringing to the forefront the strong possibility of the U.S. military’s first execution since 1961.
Gray was sentenced to death in a military court in 1988 for the crime of two murders and three rapes while the former Army cook was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He also separately pleaded guilty to two more murders and five rapes in civilian courts.
Gray is just one of six former service members sitting on death row in Fort Leavenworth. The most recent addition is former Army Maj. Nidal Hassan, a radical Islamic extremist, who murdered 13 people and injured 42 others at Fort Hood in 2009.
Gray could be executed at the United States Penitentiary, which is located in Terre Haute, Indiana, and the method would be by lethal injection.
“This is life-changing news,” Honey Rosalie Schlehuber, the sister of one of Gray’s victims, told The Fayetteville Observer.
“He ruined our family’s lives. We’ve been through so much,” she added. “He needs to go and meet his maker. He needs to pay for what he’s done.”
Former President George W. Bush approved the death penalty for Gray in 2008. The matter has been tied up in the courts until now.
No execution date has yet been set, but it’s possible one could be set for the future within the next 30 days.
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