June 15, 2020 / 11:05 PM / 22 days ago

U.S. attorney general orders execution dates set for four federal inmates

FILE PHOTO - U.S. Attorney General William Barr discusses a Trump administration executive order on the International Criminal Court during a joint news conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S., June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Monday ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to schedule the first executions of federal death-row inmates since 2003, the Justice Department said.

Barr directed that execution dates for four federal inmates who were convicted of murdering children be set for July and August, the department said in a statement.

The Trump administration’s plan to resume federal executions has been held up by court fights over the drugs used in lethal injections.

The administration won a victory in April when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed a district judge’s injunction that blocked four death penalty sentences from being carried out.

“The four murderers whose executions are scheduled today have received full and fair proceedings under our Constitution and laws,” Barr said in a statement.

“We owe it to the victims of these horrific crimes, and to the families left behind, to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” he said.

The inmates scheduled for execution are Daniel Lee on July 13, Wesley Purkey on July 15, Dustin Honken on July 17 and Keith Nelson on Aug. 28.

Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney

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