Number of Executions 135 people have been executed by the Army since 1916 (Source: National Law Journal, 4/5/99)
Date of last military execution On April 13, 1961, U.S. Army Private John A. Bennett was hanged after being convicted of rape and attempted murder. (R. Serrano, "Last Soldier to Die at Levenworth Hanged in an April Storm," Los Angeles Times, 7/12/94).
Minimum Age to Receive the Death Penalty 18 years
Method of Execution Lethal Injection
Death Row Location U.S. Disciplinary Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas
United States Military Death Row Roster and sentencing rate Total: 9 (as of 1/1/2009)
1. Kenneth Parker (B)
2. [Wade L. Walker] (B)
3. [Jessie Quintanilla] (A)
4. [James T. Murphy] (B)
5. Ronald Gray (B)
6. Dwight J. Loving (B)
7. [William Kreutzer] (W)
8. Asan Akbar (B)
9. Andrew Witt (W)
Black - 6
White - 2
Asian - 1
Male - 9
Names in brackets awaiting re-trial, re-sentencing, or where court ordered reversal is not yet final. (Source: NAACP Legal Defense Fund; updates by DPIC).
Under the current death penalty system (adopted in January 1984), there have been 47 capital courts-martial resulting in 15 adjudged death sentences, for a 31.9% prosecution "success" rate. (Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel, March 2008).
Date the Death Penalty Was Reenacted after Furman In 1983, the Armed Forces Court of Appeals held in U.S. v. Matthews, 16 M.J. 354, that military capital sentencing procedures were unconstitutional for failing to require a finding of individualized aggravating circumstances. In 1984, the death penalty was reinstated when President Ronald Reagan signed an executive order adopting detailed rules for capital courts-martial. Among the rules was a list of 11 aggravating factors that qualify defendants for death sentences.
Life Without Parole A recent amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice offers a new alternative to the death penalty. For crimes that occurred on or after November 17, 1997, a sentence of life without the possibility of parole is now possible. Prior to this legislation, those servicemembers serving a life sentence would be eligible for parole after serving 10 years.
Clemency Process The President has the power to commute a death sentence and no servicemember can be executed unless the President personally confirms the death penalty.
Capital Offenses The Uniform Code of Military Justice provides the death penalty as a possible punishment for 15 offenses (10 USC Sections 886-934), many of which must occur during a time of war. All 9 men on the military's death row were convicted of premeditated murder or felony murder.
Who Decides Sentence In a military capital case, the convening authority -- a high ranking commanding officer who decides to bring the case to a court martial -- decides if the death penalty will be sought. Once decided, the convening authority picks those servicemembers who will serve as panel members/jurors. One requirement for the panel is that if the accused so chooses, at least 1/3 of the panel must consist of enlisted personnel.
The panel must consist of 12 members. (Rules for Courts-Martial 501(a)).