The U.S. government put convicted rapist and murderer Orlando Hall to death by lethal injection on Thursday, the eighth execution under the Trump administration since capital punishment was reinstated at the federal level over the summer. Hall, 49, was pronounced dead at 11:47 p.m. EDT after officials at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons administered him a fatal dose of the barbiturate pentobarbital at the bureau’s execution chamber in Terre Haute, Indiana, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
Hall was the second African-American man to be executed by lethal injection on federal death row in recent months. He was convicted by an all-white jury for his role in the 1994 kidnapping, rape and murder of the 16-year-old sister of two Texas drug dealers whom Hall suspected had stolen money from him.
He and three other men kidnapped Lisa Rene from her apartment in Texas and drove her back to a motel room in Arkansas where they tied her up, raped her and beat her with a shovel before she was buried alive. The death sentence was carried out shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court denied an 11th-hour petition for a stay, overturning a lower-court order that had blocked the execution on grounds that the government‘s protocols for administering sodium pentobarbital without a prescription violated the law.
Hall’s execution came as the United States has faced a reckoning over racial injustice sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man taken into custody and handcuffed, as he lay gasping for breath, his neck pinned to the ground under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. U.S. Attorney General William Barr ended a 17-year hiatus in federal executions in July, after announcing last year that the Bureau of Prisons was switching to a new single-drug method for lethal injections, from a three-drug combination it last used in 2003.