Annette Lantos, left, wife of the late California Rep. Tom Lantos watches as US President Bush signs H.J. Res. 93, the Renewal of Import Restrictions on Burma and H.R. 3890, the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Tuesday, July 29, 2008.
This April 1988 picture shows Ronald A. Gray in handcuffs and chains, escorted by U.S. military police leaving a Fort Bragg, N.C. courtroom.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Bush on Monday approved the execution of an Army private, the first time in over a half-century that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military.Quote has been trimmed
With his signature from the Oval Office, Bush said yes to the military's request to execute Ronald A. Gray, the White House confirmed. Gray had had been convicted in connection with a spree of four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, N.C., area over eight months in the late 1980s while stationed at Fort Bragg.
"While approving a sentence of death for a member of our armed services is a serious and difficult decision for a commander in chief, the president believes the facts of this case leave no doubt that the sentence is just and warranted," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.
In the military courts, "Private Gray was convicted of committing brutal crimes, including two murders, an attempted murder and three rapes. The victims included a civilian and two members of the Army. ... The president's thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these heinous crimes and their families and all others affected."
Unlike in the civilian courts, a member of the U.S. armed forces cannot be executed until the president approves the death sentence. Gray has been on death...