Published: Jul 29, 2008
Death Row Army Execution Of Private Ronald Gray For Rape & Murder
by Staff

Ronald Gray Executed - President George W. Bush on Monday approved the death sentence of an Army private.  Ronald Gray was convicted of the murder and rape of Kimberly Anne Ruggles, 24, a civilian cab driver, in January 1987, and Laura Lee Vickery Clay, an Army private, in December 1986. 

Bush became the first U.S. president to approve a military execution in 51 years.

Miss Ruggles bled to death after being stabbed seven times. Miss Clay was shot four times with a .22-caliber pistol that Gray confessed to stealing, the Times Online reported. Both women were from Fayetteville next to the Fort Bragg barracks where Gray was based.

According to Reuters reports, President Bush signed a request by the military that Ronald Gray be put to death following his court-martial conviction 20 years ago on multiple charges of murder and rape.

"While approving a sentence of death for a member of our armed services is a serious and difficult decision for a commander in chief, the president believes the facts of this case leave no doubt that the sentence is just and warranted," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said a statement.

Gray also was convicted of raping and attempting to kill Private Mary Ann Nameth, 20, who was reportedly stabbed three times in the neck in January 1987, in a Fort Bragg barracks. She testified against Gray during the court-martial and identified him as her assailant.

Unlike the civilian court system, the U.S. military justice system dictates that a member of the armed forces cannot be executed until the president approves the death sentence.

The last president to act on a military death sentence was John F. Kennedy, who commuted a death sentence to life in prison in 1962, according to White House records.

Gray received multiple life sentences from the North Carolina state court and had been held on death row in a military prison in Kansas since April 1988.

A larger photo of Ronald Gray can be found here.

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