President Approves Execution Of Soldier Held On Death Row

July 30, 2008

Like politics or religion, the death penalty is a subject that tends to incite very strong feelings from people, regardless of their position on it. Many people will cite religious reasons for their feeling against the death penalty, others will cite cruel and unusual punishment. Other people will say that the death penalty doesn’t deter crime. To that I have always said that it might not deter a criminal from committing a crime, but it definately goes a long ways towards reducing recevidism, or criminals continuing to repeat their crimes over and over again. If they’re dead, they can’t commit more of the same types of crimes. For myself, it’s a no brainer. Having spent many years working in law enforcement and seeing the depravity and cruelty that some criminals espouse upon their fellow human beings, it’s something that I’m very much in favor of. For the most part, people such as this will continue to victimize others as long as they’re free. Whenever I get into a discussion about the death penalty, whether it violates the criminal’s Constitutional Rights, I will often ask just how cognizant of the victims’ rights was the criminal, when he or she committed their crime.

Pvt. Ronald A. Gray, left, is escorted from a Fort Bragg, N.C., courtroom by military police in April 1988. President Bush approved Gray’s execution July 28, the first time in over a half-century that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military.1

I’ll give you a little background on this person. Between April 1986 and January 1987, Ronald A. Gray, who was an Army cook at the time, stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, brutally raped and murdered 4 women and raped and attempted to kill 4 other women. In a general court martial held at Fort Bragg in April 1988, Gray was convicted of two murders, an attempted murder and 3 rapes. This man was a predator, who preyed on unsuspecting women. The 6 members of the panel unanimously convicted Gray of the crimes, after a two hour deliberation.

During the hearing, one of his victims, who was lucky enough to escape with her life, testified against him and was able to identify him as her assailant. At the time, she was a Pvt in the Army and was attacked by Gray in her barracks. He raped her and stabbed her several times in the neck. The injuries she suffered included a laceration of her trachea and a collapsed or punctured lung. It’s obvious from the extent of her injuries, that Gray’s intent was to kill her after he raped her.

Unlike the civilian justice system, where a person is convicted and sentenced to die and then goes through sometimes years of appeals, a president must approve the execution of members of the Armed Services. President Bush’s approval of the execution of Gray is the first time in 51 years that a President has approved the execution of a member of the Armed Forces. Gray won’t be executed for at least 60 days and it could possibly take even longer, because of the possibility of appeals.

“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,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino. She called the crimes “brutal.”


Over the course of the years that the United States has existed as a nation, several military members have been executed. It wasn’t until 1951, that the Uniform Code of Military Justice, required a Presidential approval for any execution of a military member. President Eisenhower was the last president to approve a military execution. In 1957, he approved the execution of John Bennett, an Army private convicted of raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl. He was hanged in 1961.3

For myself, the President’s approval of this execution, is the right choice. You have to wonder how many women would have been raped and murdered by this man, had he not been caught. He definitely has many of the same characteristics of other predators, such as Ted Bundy. Unfortunately, people like this tend to be sociopaths, who have no remorse for their actions and have a tendency to justify their actions, often blaming the victim for what they did. I applaud President Bush for having the guts to stand up for the rights of the victims in this case and approve the execution of the man who victimized them.

To get another opinion on this issue, you can read COB6’s article and discussion that has ensued over at Black Five. COB6 was stationed at Fort Bragg during this time period and I’m sure could provide a lot of insight into the fear that pervaded the community, until this sicko was arrested.

Army Times

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3 Responses to “President Approves Execution Of Soldier Held On Death Row”

  1. Video: Taliban claims ‘bomber army’ · on July 30th, 2008 1:15 am

    [...] News » News President Approves Execution Of Soldier Held On Death Row2008-07-30 02:15:474 other women. In a general court martial held at the time, stationed in Fort [...]

  2. Isaac on July 31st, 2008 7:23 am

    When a military member is given the death sentence, I feel that it should be the Chaplain’s choice on how to exceute the person as well as carry it out.

  3. Terri on July 31st, 2008 8:10 pm

    I don’t think you’d find many Chaplains that would make that choice or be willing to carry out the punishment.

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