Us Soldier On Death Row
Bush: Former Army cook's crimes warrant execution.
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer Tuesday, July 29, 2008 (07-29) 08:26 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --
President Bush could have commuted the death sentence of Ronald A. Gray, a former Army cook convicted of multiple rapes and murders.
But Bush decided Monday that Gray's crimes were so repugnant that execution was the only just punishment.
Bush's decision marked the first time in 51 years that a president has affirmed a death sentence for a member of the U.S. military. It was the first time in 46 years that such a decision has even been weighed in the Oval Office.
Gray, 42, was convicted in connection with a spree of four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, N.C., area between April 1986 and January 1987 while he was stationed at Fort Bragg. He has been on death row at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., since April 1988.
"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," White House press secretary Dana Perino said.
"The president's thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these heinous crimes and their families and all others affected," she said.
Bush's decision, however, is not likely the end of Gray's legal battle. Further litigation is expected and these types of death sentence appeals often take years to resolve. It also remains unclear where Gray would be executed. Military executions are handled by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Members of the U.S. military have been executed throughout history, but just 10 have been executed by presidential approval since 1951, when the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military's modern-day legal system, was enacted into law.
President Kennedy was the last president to stare down this life-or-death decision. On Feb. 12, 1962, Kennedy commuted the death sentence of Jimmie Henderson, a Navy seaman, to confinement for life.
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.
Under current military rules, such executions would be carried out by lethal injection.
Gray was held responsible for the crimes he committed in both the civilian and military justice systems.
Silas DeRoma, who left active duty in 1999, was one of several military attorneys who represented Gray on appeal.
"It's disappointing news, as you can imagine," said DeRoma, who now works as a regulatory attorney in Honolulu for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He said the basis for some of Gray's appeals focused on the prisoner's mental competency and his representation at trial.
In civilian courts in North Carolina, Gray pleaded guilty to two murders and five rapes and was sentenced to three consecutive and five concurrent life terms. He then was tried by general court-martial at the Army's Fort Bragg. There he was convicted in April 1988 and unanimously sentenced to death.
The court-martial panel convicted Gray of:
_Raping and killing Army Pvt. Laura Lee Vickery-Clay of Fayetteville on Dec. 15, 1986. She was shot four times with a .22-caliber pistol that Gray confessed to stealing. She suffered blunt force trauma over much of her body.
_Raping and killing Kimberly Ann Ruggles, a civilian cab driver in Fayetteville. She was bound, gagged and stabbed repeatedly, and had bruises and lacerations on her face. Her body was found on the base.
_Raping, robbing and attempting to kill an army private in her barracks at Fort Bragg on Jan. 3, 1987. She testified against Gray during the court-martial and identified him as her assailant. Gray raped her and stabbed her several times in the neck and side. The victim suffered a laceration of the trachea and a collapsed or punctured lung.
Gray has appealed his case through the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (then known as the U.S. Army Court of Military Review) and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Services. In 2001, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.
Associated Press writer Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, N.C., contributed to this report.
That's where military and civilian justice differ.If the court martial says that you are going to be executed,don't plan on writing books and smiling on tv for long telling how you were abused as a child because your parents wouldn't let you set fire to the neighborhood dogs.
This guy doesn't deserve any sympathy.
I concur. We all know where sympathy can be found - in the dictionary....
As well just a word or ten on courts martial and how they differ from civilian courts. (Yes that is correctly spelled)
If you are tried and found NOT guilty in a military tribunal, all record of the event is erased. It "never existed" and you are completely free. If you are found not guilty in a civil court, for some reason all that nozz seems to follows you around forever.
If you are found guilty in either court, it is better to be found guilty in a civil court because to be sentenced in a military court, you are going to a military prison and that AINT NO FUN AT ALL. "Human Rights" are only marginally followed, although the staff are not allowed to beat you or anything like that, but it aint no peach. However, you can and likely will be released early for good behaviour, because (in Canadian mil prisons anyhow) you can earn points for doing what you are required to do. Also, in very general terms, its usually better to have a sentence that is longer than 90 days. Terms less than that can be very nasty. Not that being in prison for any length of time is any fun! :eek:
And finally, NO I have not had the "honour" of being tried, much less held in military or civil custody, but I know enough people who have. What I relayed above is a somewhat condensed version of what each has said individually, although most tend to not really want to talk about what happened while they were in DB.
I had a school mate who had that "privilage". The fellow who went in, all full of p!ss and vigor, is not the same person who quietly came out 45 days later.
T'ain't necessarily true.The CPO and your LPO will ALWAYS remember that you got hauled into the prisoner's dock.Think doing hard time is miserable?If THEY think you are guilty,no matter what the verdict is,they will take time out of their Liberty to think up ways to punish you themselves.Who will you complain to?You can't jump them to talk to the Division officer and by the time you walk to him after properly getting their permission first,he will already know what they think and no junior officer worth his salt will cross a Navy Chief.
Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7
3 days bread and water.Not saying what for but you are a sailor in a jail run by Marines.What fun,what fun,according to my buddy that it happened to.
First two days,you get white bread and water to choke it down with.("Sam" don't like white bread)The third day,they brought him a loaf of wheat bread and he was so happy,he said words couldn't describe it.