Bush, first President in 50 years to Approve the Execution of a Soldier.
President George W. Bush became the first American president in half a century to approve the execution of a soldier.
Administration officials said Bush signed the paperwork approving the military's request to execute an army private who has been on death row since 1988
U.S. military personnel cannot be executed without the president's approval.
Ronald A. Gray, now 42, was convicted in connection with four murders and eight rapes in the Fayetteville, N.C., area during an eight-month period in the late 1980s, while he was stationed at Fort Bragg.
Only 10 members of the U.S. military have been executed by presidential approval since 1951, when the Uniform Code of Military Justice — the military's modern-day legal system — was enacted into law.
President Dwight Eisenhower was the last U.S. leader to authorize a military execution. In 1957, he approved the hanging of John Bennett, an army private convicted of raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl.
Bush is the first American president to be faced with such a decision in more than 46 years. In 1962, President John F. Kennedy decided to commute the death sentence of Jimmie Henderson, a Navy seaman, to confinement for life.