(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice plans to execute Orlando Hall, a convicted murderer, on Nov. 19, according to a notice filed with a federal judge overseeing challenges to the department’s lethal injection protocol.
The United States has already carried out seven executions this year after President Donald Trump’s administration revived the punishment in the summer, ending a 17-year hiatus.
Hall, 49, was a marijuana trafficker in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who in 1994, alongside accomplices, kidnapped, raped and murdered the 16-year-old sister of two Texas drug dealers he suspected had stolen money from him, according to court records.
He and three other men kidnapped Lisa Rene from the apartment she shared with her brothers in Arlington, Texas, in an act of revenge after they paid her brothers $4,700 for marijuana that never materialized.
They drove her back to Arkansas, tied her up in a motel room to be raped, and beat her with a shovel before burying her alive in a shallow grave two days later.
Hall is the second Black man to face federal execution this year amid nationwide protests about racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Of the 56 people on federal death row, 26, or 46%, are Black, and 22, or 39%, are white. Black people comprise only 13% of the U.S. population.
Hall’s layers, Marcia Widder and Robert Owen, said in a statement that racial bias tainted the trial before an all-white jury who did not hear potentially mitigating evidence of Hall’s upbringing in a violent household.
“Mr. Hall has never denied the role he played in the tragic death of Lisa Rene,” the statement said. “But the jury that sentenced him to death did not know key facts about his background, and the path toward personal redemption that Mr. Hall has followed in prison shows that he is not among the ‘worst of the worst’ for whom the death penalty is properly reserved.”
Under Trump, a Republican running for re-election in November, the Justice Department has already executed twice as many men this year as all of Trump’s predecessors combined going back to 1963.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis
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