Federal government executes first black inmate since resuming death penalty

Texas Death Row
Death chamber gurney at the Huntsville prison in Texas. The State of Texas adopted lethal injection as a means of execution in 1977. The first lethal injection in the country was performed in the Huntsville death chamber on December 7, 1982. Since the execution of Charlie Brooks Jr., Texas has performed a total of 241 executions by lethal injection.The state of Texas executes more people than all of the other states combined. Using lethal injection, Texas has executed over 500 prisoners since th (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — The U.S. government has put the first black inmate to death since the Trump administration resumed federal executions this year after a nearly two-decade pause.

Christopher Vialva, 40, was pronounced dead shortly before 6 p.m. CDT Thursday. He was convicted and sentenced to death in the slaying a religious couple visiting Texas from Iowa when Vialva was 19.

Vialva was the seventh federal execution since July and the second this week. Five of the first six were white, a move critics argue was a political calculation to avoid uproar. The sixth was Navajo.

Vialva’s lawyer, Susan Otto, has said race played a role in landing her client on Death Row in the 1999 killings of Todd and Stacie Bagley, who were white.