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First military execution since '61 planned

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A U.S. soldier convicted of rape and murder is scheduled to be executed next month in the first military execution in more than 40 years, the Army said.

Pvt. Ronald Gray, convicted 20 years ago, will be executed by lethal injection at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Ind., CNN reported. The execution will be carried out by soldiers from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where Gray had been on death row since 1988.

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Gray was convicted of raping and killing a female Army private and a civilian near his post at Fort Bragg, N.C., and was convicted of the rape and attempted murder of another soldier in her barracks. Military and civilian courts found Gray responsible for the crimes committed between April 1986 and January 1987, CNN reported.

In July, President George Bush approved the Army's request to execute Gray.

"The president took action following completion of a full appellate process, which upheld the conviction and sentence to death," the Army said in a news release.

The last U.S. military execution was in 1961, when Army Pvt. John Bennett was hanged for raping and attempting to kill an 11-year-old Austrian girl.

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