The Justice Department is making preparations for what could be the first federal execution under President Barack Obama, reports Politico.com. The Bureau of Prisons told a federal judge Wednesday that it intends to set an execution date for Jeffery Paul, 34. Paul was convicted in 1997 for the robbery-murder of an 82-year-old National Park Service employee in 1995.
Paul is not included in a challenge by some federal death row prisoners to federal lethal injection procedures. The execution could take place in about four mnths. Paul is on death row at the federal prison in Terre Haute, In. His attorney, Robert McGlasson, said that Paul suffers from “severe mental illness” and that he should be permitted to join the suit brought by other federal death row inmates. Three executions took place in the federal system under President George W. Bush, including that of Oklahoma City federal building bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001. The last execution was in March 2003. Before McVeigh was put to death by lethal injection, the federal government went almost four decades without carrying out an execution.