United States conduct 5th federal execution in two months

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For the fifth time in two months, the United States on Friday executed a man sentenced to death for the murder of a child.

Keith Nelson, 45, received a lethal injection in Terre-Haute penitentiary, his lawyers said.

He was sentenced in 2003 to the death penalty for kidnapping a ten-year-old girl who was roller-skating outside her house in the state of Kansas. He had raped and then strangled her before abandoning her body in neighboring Missouri.

United States conduct 5th federal execution in two months

In the United States, crimes are generally tried in state courts, but federal justice is seized of the most serious cases, or as here, committed between several jurisdictions.

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 got there in July and, along with Mr. Nelson, has since carried out five executions, including a Native American on Wednesday despite opposition from the Navajo Nation.

The death penalty is on the decline in the United States, where only a handful of states, notably in the South, still use it. Twenty-two executions took place in 2019 and twelve since the start of 2020.

According to polls, support for the death penalty has declined among the American population but remains strong among Republican voters.

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