Donald Trump is set to become the White House’s most prolific executioner in more than a century after approving a series of lethal injections before he leaves office.
Most executions are carried out by states, but the federal government can also apply the death penalty in a few cases.
Mr Trump has overseen a spree of federal executions this year and broke with a 130-year custom of pausing executions during a presidential transition after approving the death by lethal injection of 40-year-old killer Brandon Bernard on Thursday night.
The scheduled execution of another murderer, Alfred Bourgeois, 56, today will bring the outgoing president level with the 10 federal executions during Franklin D Roosevelt’s 1933-45 term in office.
Just one federal execution is known to have taken place in the 1920s, meaning Mr Trump will eclipse FDR’s record for the past century if a further three planned executions go ahead.
He will have broken it in the space of just four-and-a-half months if the execution of Lisa Montgomery takes place as planned on December 31.
It was originally scheduled for December 8 but was postponed after both her attorneys caught Covid-19.
The outgoing president will also have overseen more than a third of all federal executions in 100 years.
According to Federal Bureau of Prisons records, the federal government has executed 36 people since the 1920s, starting with the hanging of convicted killer James Aldermon in August 1927 in Fort Lauderdale.
Preisdent-elect Joe Biden opposes the death penalty and has said he will push to phase it out.
Newly-inaugurated presidents can undo many of their predecessors’ orders, whereas executions are uniquely irreversible.
Mr Trump has been harshly criticised for allowing the execution of Brandon Bernard to go ahead despite resistance from within the justice system.
Five of the nine surviving jury members who helped convict Bernard, as well as the attorney who defended his death sentence against an appeal, had called for it to be stopped.
Kim Kardashian is among the most well-known celebrities to have appealed to Mr Trump on social media.
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