Barr asked that the execution dates be set for July and August, marking the first use of capital punishment by the federal government since 2003, the DOJ said in a statement. Two of the four death row inmates convicted of killing children were also convicted of raping the children they murdered, the Justice Department said.
It follows an announcement from Barr in July 2019 that federal executions would resume. Early April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the Trump administration's plan to resume executions of federal death row prisoners via lethal injection does not violate federal law.
The appeals court lifted an order in November 2019 by a lower court judge that had put on hold the executions of the four federal death-row inmates—Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, and Keith Dwayne Nelson.
Attorneys for the four men are asking the Supreme Court to order a halt to the process.