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U.S. executes Army vet for rape and murder

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A decorated Gulf War veteran who claimed his exposure to Iraqi nerve gas caused him to rape and kill a female soldier was executed by injection Tuesday at a federal prison.

Louis Jones Jr., 53, died by injection at the U.S. Penitentiary near Terre Haute after President Bush and the U.S. Supreme Court refused his two final requests that they intervene.

Jones was the third person — after Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and drug kingpin Juan Garza — put to death by the federal government since it resumed executions in 2001 after a 38-year suspension.

Jones, who had no prior criminal record, admitted kidnapping 19-year-old Pvt. Tracie Joy McBride from a Texas Air Force base, raping her and beating her to death with a tire iron. His attorneys said exposure to the gas caused severe brain damage that led him to kill.

"Today was a day of justice for Tracie," Irene McBride, the victim's mother, said after she witnessed the execution. "Today Louis Jones finally was made accountable for his actions, and today he will meet his ultimate judge."

Jones' attorney, Timothy Floyd, said the execution "represents the failure of the federal government to understand and be accountable for the impact of nerve agents on the soldiers who were exposed to it in the service of their country."