List of individuals executed by the United States military
military of the United Statesexecuted 160 soldiers and other members of the armed forces between 1942 and 1961 (these figures do not include German prisoners of war, war criminals and saboteurs executed by military authorities between 1942 and 1951). Of these executions, 157 were carried out by the United States Army between 1942–1961. The United States Air Force conducted the three remaining executions, one in 1950 and two in 1954. It should also be noted that the United States Armyhad previously executed a total of 36 soldiers during the First World War, [http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/09_25.pdf eleven of these executions] taking place between 5 November 1917and 20 June 1919in Franceand 25 hangings being carried out in the continental United Statesover the same time period.
The [http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/statab/sec05.pdf Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2000] contains the following information relative to military executions.
[Excludes executions by military authorities. The Army (including the Air Force) carried out 160 (148 between 1942 and 1950; three each in 1954, 1955 and 1957; and one each in 1958, 1959 and 1961). Of the total, 106 were executed for murder (including 21 involving rape) 53 for rape and one for desertion. The Navy carried out no executions during the period]
Reintroduction of the military death penalty
Death penalty by the U.S. military was reintroduced by the executive order of President
Ronald Reaganin 1984. [ [http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=180&scid=32 The U.S. Military Death Penalty] , "Death Penalty Information Center"]
On Monday, July 28, 2008, President George W. Bush approved the execution of United States Army Private
Ronald A. Gray, who had been convicted in April 1988 of multiple murders and rapes. The execution is pending.
Currently, under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice, 14 offenses are punishable by death. Under the following sections of the UCMJ, the death penalty can be imposed at any time:
* 94 -
* 99 - Misbehavior before the enemy
* 100 - Subordinate compelling surrender
* 101 - Improper use of countersign
* 102 - Forcing a safeguard
* 104 - Aiding the enemy
* 106a -
* 110 - Improper hazarding of vessel
* 118 -
* 120 -
Rapeand carnal knowledge
Four provisions of the UCMJ carry a death sentence only if the crime is committed during times of war:
* 85 -
* 90 - Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer
* 106 - Spies
* 113 - Misbehavior of a sentinel or lookout
entencing and execution
Capital cases are tried in courts-martial before a panel of at least five military members. If the defendant is an enlisted man, he may opt for at least one third of the panel to also be of
enlisted rank. The defendant cannot plead guilty to the charges. The panel must be unanimous in conviction, that the government has proven necessary aggravating factors, that the aggravating factors outweigh the mitigating factors, and that death is the only sentence applicable. All death sentences are automatically appealed first to the appropriate Court of Criminal Appeals for the military service, then to the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The sentence must be personally confirmed by the President of the United States.
Military executions would be conducted under [http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/r190_55.pdf regulations] issued on
17 January 2006, and would ordinarily take place at the [http://usacac.army.mil/CAC/usdb.asp Special Housing Unit] of the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, although alternative locations are possible. Under these regulations, the only authorized method of execution would be lethal injection. There are currently nine inmates confined at the Special Housing Unit, all of whom have been convicted of premeditated murder or felony murder.
Until 1961, the last military execution to date,
hangingwas the sole and official method. Later, the military introduced the electric chair, which was never used [http://www.expose-the-war-profiteers.org/archive/media/2006/20060628.htm] . Currently lethal injectionis the sole method [http://deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?did=180&scid=32] .
Executions during World War II and postwar
United States Armycarried out [http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/investigations.pdf 141] executions over a three year period in 1942–1945, and a further six executions were conducted during the postwar period, for a known total of 147 in all. 70 of these 141 wartime executions were carried out in the European Theatre, 27 in the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II, 21 in the Southwest Pacific Area, 19 in the continental United States, two in Hawai'i, one in Guadacanaland one in India. Of six postwar executions, one took place in Hawaii, one in Japan, two in Franceand two in the Philippines. An execution was also carried out by the Air Force in Japanin 1950.
All executions carried out by the
United States Armyduring 1942-1948 were performed under the authority of the [http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/RAW-vol2.pdf#page=39 Articles of War of June 4, 1920, Ch. 227, 41 Stat. 787, 788] , an Act of Congresswhich governed military justice between 1920 and 1948. With the exception of Eddie Slovik, shot for a purely military offense, "Article 58. DESERTION", all of these soldiers were primarily executed for "Article 92. MURDER-RAPE" (it should be noted that several of the soldiers listed as convicted and executed for "Article 92. MURDER-RAPE" had additionally been convicted on sundry other charges, including those of a military nature such as desertion and mutiny, plus lesser crimes that would not be considered capital unless combined with more serious offenses which carried the death penalty). The text of "Article 58. DESERTION", and "Article 92. MURDER-RAPE" are as follows.
Information on listed military executions between 1942–1948 has been primarily derived from the following sources. Research on the remaining wartime executions is pending.
# A handwritten list, [http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?scid=32&did=988 Executed Death Cases Before 1951] , discovered at
The Pentagonin December 2003. The list is only partially legible and must therefore be used with some caution. The linked public version of this list is quite truncated, thereby omitting a great deal of useful information about these cases. The supplemental addendum, Death Sentence Ledger, tracks military capital cases between 1950-1967.
# Two tables of U.S. Soldiers executed during
World War II's [http://users.bestweb.net/~rg/execution/WWII%20MILITARY%20EXECUTIONS.htm European Theater] and [http://users.bestweb.net/~rg/execution/WWII%20MILITARY%20EXECUTIONS%20PACIFIC.htm Pacific Theater] may be found on [http://users.bestweb.net/~rg/execution.htm Before the Needle]
# The [http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=List&dbid=1102&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0 U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945] (payment required) contains the names of many American servicemen executed by military authority overseas. These individuals are generally identified in the Rosters as "GP" (or General Prisoners) and were interred under the category of "Administrative Decision".
# The [http://gravelocator.cem.va.gov/j2ee/servlet/NGL_v1 Nationwide Gravesite Locator] contains the names of numerous executed soldiers, many of them listed as being General Prisoners.
# The [http://www.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8750 U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006] (payment required) contains the names of numerous executed soldiers, many of them listed as being General Prisoners.
# Historical archives of the [http://content.ancestry.com/iexec/?htx=Newspaper&dbid=1136&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0 Stars and Stripes Newspaper, WWII Europe and North Africa Editions, 1942-1958] (payment required) contain numerous contemporary references to military executions.
# "Death Penalty Cases in WWII Military Courts: Lessons Learned from North Africa and Italy", a paper written by Professor J. Robert Lilly of the School of Law, Northern Kentucky University, and Associate Professor J. Michael Thomson of the Political Science Department Northern Kentucky University, and presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences March 10–13, 2004. Las Vegas, NV, contains statistical information on 97 executions carried out in the
European Theatreand the Mediterranean Theatre of World War II. It does not appear to be available online at this time.
# "Taken by Force", by J. Robert Lilly, published by Palgrave Macmillian in August, 2007, discusses crimes of sexual violence committed by American soldiers in the Second World War. It contains numerous references to military capital cases during this period.
# Official File, Court Martial Cases, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, contains information on sentence confirmation dates of soldiers executed for capital crimes within the continental
United Statesbetween 1942-145.
# Official File, Court Martial Cases, Harry Truman Museum and Library, contains information on sentence confirmation dates of soldiers and members of the Air Force executed between 1945-1954.
# History of the JAG Branch Office, U.S. Forces, European Theater, 18 July 1942 to 1 Nov. 1945: n.a., Vol. 1–2, prep. by the Branch Office of the JAG-ETO, n.p ., n.d. (1946?), contains a summary on 70 military executions carried out in the European theater between 1943-1945.
Executions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice
A total of ten military executions have been carried out by the
United States Armyunder the provisions of the original Uniform Code of Military Justiceof 5 May 1950. The first four of these executions, those of Bernard J. O'Brien, Chastine Beverly, Louis M. Suttles and James L. Riggins, were carried out by military officials at the Kansas State Penitentiarynear Lansing, Kansas. The remaining six executions took place in the boiler room of the United States Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Hanging was the method employed in these ten executions.
USS "Somers" mutiny
There has only been one instance in the history of the
United States Navywhere people have been executed for mutiny.
The USS "Somers" was returning from
Monrovia, Liberiain 1842. On the passage to the West Indies, the officers noticed a steady worsening of morale. On 26 November 1842, commanding officer Alexander Slidell Mackenziearrested Midshipman Philip Spencer, the son of Secretary of War John C. Spencer, for inciting mutiny. The next day, Boatswain's Mate Samuel Cromwelland Seaman Elisha Smallwere also put in irons. The three were hanged on December 1 1842after an investigation by the officers of the ship.
*Shepton Mallet Military Prison
*Plot E - "The Dishonored Dead"
* [http://www.richard.clark32.btinternet.co.uk/sheptonm.html American executions at Shepton Mallet]
* [http://www.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/dp/dppapers/lil.dirty.details Dirty Details - US Military Executions During WW2]
* [http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj2.htm#SUBCHAPTER%20X.%20PUNITIVE%20ARTICLES Subchapter X, "Punitive Articles"] of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
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