The United States on Thursday executed a black man sentenced to death for a double murder in 1999, the seventh federal execution in three months, despite appeals for leniency from his supporters, which underscored his immaturity at the time. facts.
Christopher Andre Vialva, 40, received a lethal injection in Terre Haute (Indiana) penitentiary, the Department of Justice confirmed. His death was pronounced at 6:46 p.m.
The Supreme Court had rejected, during the day, an appeal filed by his lawyers.
He was sentenced in 2000 to the death penalty for stealing a couple's car, then shooting their two victims before setting the vehicle and bodies on fire in Texas.
“Despite the very, very horrific nature of the crime for which Christopher was convicted, my position, based on science, is that his brain was not that of a fully constituted adult,” said Jason Chein, professor of psychology. at Temple University, as cited by CNN.
In the United States, crimes are usually tried in state courts, but the most serious cases are referred to federal justice.
It rarely pronounces death sentences and even more rarely executes convicts. From 1988 to 2003, only three convicts were executed at the federal level, then none for 17 years.
But the government of Republican President Donald Trump, a staunch supporter of the death penalty, who hopes to win a second term on November 3 with a firm speech, decided a year ago to resume federal executions.
After various legal twists and turns, he succeeded in July.
The execution of Christopher Vialva has been the seventh since the summer, after that of a Native American, despite opposition from the Navajo tribe, and five whites.
The death penalty is on the decline in the United States, where only a handful of states, especially in the South, still use it.
According to polls, support for the death penalty has declined among the American population, but remains strong among Republican voters.