For the first time in nearly 70 years, the United States has executed a man for a crime he committed as a teenager.
It is reported that 40-year-old Christopher Vialva has been sentenced to death and his execution is to take place Thursday at federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was convicted 20 years ago for the 1999 murder of the brothers in Fort Hood, Texas. At the time of the crime he was 19 years old.
The crime was egregious, and since then, experts have conducted numerous brain studies that raise a key question: Should a person be sentenced to capital punishment for a crime they committed as a young man?
“Despite the heinous nature of the crime for which Christopher was convicted, I believe that, based on scientific evidence, his brain was not the brain of a full-fledged adult, so he cannot be fully responsible for the crime,” says Jason Chain, professor psychology at Temple University.
However, the Ministry of Justice announced plans to execute Vialva. This will be the seventh federal execution since the Justice Department ended a 17-year hiatus in the execution of such sentences in July.