Thursday, August 13, 2020
Aug. 13, 2020

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2 more federal executions scheduled

Justice Department fends off late legal challenges for both


WASHINGTON — The Justice Department scheduled two additional federal executions on Friday, an announcement that comes weeks after it fought off last-minute legal challenges and successfully resumed federal executions following a 17-year pause.

The executions of Christopher Andre Vialva and William Emmett LeCroy are scheduled to be carried out in September. The government carried out three executions in July, and two other executions had been set previously for August.

Vialva, 40, was convicted along with a co-defendant in the 1999 kidnapping and killing of an Iowa couple at Fort Hood in Texas. The youth ministers had stopped to use a payphone in Killeen, Texas, and agreed to give Vialva and two others a ride, authorities said. Vialva pulled out a gun, forced the couple into the trunk and drove around for several hours, stopping at ATMs to withdraw cash and attempting to pawn the woman’s wedding ring, according to prosecutors.

The victims, Todd and Stacie Bagley, were both shot in head and placed in trunk of their car, which then was set afire. Vialva — who is the first Black inmate to be scheduled to be executed since the federal government resumed the death penalty this year — is scheduled to be executed on Sept. 24. A co-defendant in the case, Brandon Bernard, also received death sentence, though his execution date has not yet been scheduled.

LeCroy, 50, of Georgia, was convicted of raping and killing Joann Lee Tiesler, a 30-year-old nurse, in 2001 and then stealing her car. Prosecutors said he broke into her home and attacked her when she came home from a shopping trip, binding her hands behind her back before he strangled her with an electrical cord and raped her. They said he then slit Tiesler’s throat and stabbed her repeatedly in the back.

At the time, one of LeCroy’s lawyers argued he should face state charges and not be tried in federal court under the federal carjacking statute. LeCroy’s lawyers said he had no intention of stealing the car when he was burglarizing Tiesler’s home. He was arrested at the U.S.-Canada border and was previously convicted of firearms and drug offenses, burglary, aggravated assault and child sex abuse charges.