Federal officials executed a former soldier who said an obsession with witchcraft led him to kill a Georgia nurse he believed had put a spell on him, the Associated Press reports. William Emmett LeCroy, 50, was pronounced dead Tuesday evening after receiving a lethal injection at the same U.S. prison in Terre Haute, In., where five others have been executed this year after a 17-year period without a federal execution. Lawyers had asked President Donald Trump to commute LeCroy’s sentence to life in prison, saying that his brother, Georgia State Trooper Chad LeCroy, was killed during a traffic stop in 2010 and that another son’s death would devastate their family.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to issue a stay. Witnesses to the execution included the father and fiancé of Joann Lee Tiesler, whom LeCroy raped and stabbed to death 19 years ago. The execution of Christopher Vialva is scheduled for Thursday. He would be the first African American on federal death row to be put to death this year. Critics say the Justice Department’s resumption of federal executions this year is a cynical bid to help Trump claim the mantle of law-and-order candidate leading up to Election Day. Supporters say Trump is bringing long-overdue justice to victims and their families. LeCroy broke into the Cherrylog, Ga., mountain home of Tiesler on Oct. 7, 2001, and waited for her to return from a shopping trip. When she walked in, LeCroy struck her with a shotgun, bound and raped her. He slashed her throat and repeatedly stabbed her in the back.