The Next to Die

Watching death row
From 1976 through 2020, people were executed in America.
For five and a half years years, The Next to Die tracked every execution scheduled in the country, starting in 2015. This is what we learned. Although we are no longer updating these pages, you can read our continuing coverage of capital punishment in our new series Death Sentences.

With the Next to Die, The Marshall Project and our reporting partners tracked every execution in the United States from August 2015 to February 2021. By recording each story and noting every death, we wanted to show how the machinery of capital punishment quietly grinds forward while few are watching. Despite the trauma suffered in these cases—all of them marked by profound losses—they are all too often invisible to most of us.

When we started, there was no detailed, up-to-date schedule of coming executions. We wanted to tell the stories of the people facing death and the lives lost in the crimes for which they were convicted. We wanted to chronicle how their cases proceeded toward their ultimate end. In the process, we hoped to better understand how our courts and prisons dispense their most severe punishment.

On paper, the federal government and 27 states allow juries to impose death sentences for the worst crimes. In practice, fewer than half carry out such sentences. Over the course of our reporting, we followed cases in 15 states and the federal government, which resumed executions in 2020 after a lengthy hiatus. Four of the states we watched—Arizona, Nevada, Oklahoma and South Carolina—did not put anyone to death, though they made efforts to. What you’ll find here on the pages of The Next to Die are the histories of capital punishment and the stories of the men and women put to death.

Our aim was to bring attention to these overlooked executions.The Marshall Project and its journalistic partners do not take a stance on the morality of the death penalty, but we do see a need for better reporting on a punishment that so divides Americans. Even as The Next to Die ends, The Marshall Project will continue to focus on the death penalty and has launched Death Sentences, a new series on important trends and broader issues in capital punishment. We hope after you explore the stories collected here, you’ll continue to follow our coverage on this critical criminal justice issue.


History
In the modern era, the death penalty has faced legal challenges over racial bias as well as the method used to kill. While the majority of people executed since 1976 have been white, a disproportionate number have been black ( of those executed, while being only 13 percent of the population). Latinos and other races make up the remaining . The first execution since 1976 was carried out by a firing squad. Since then other means of execution have included hanging, the gas chamber, and the electric chair. Since the early 90s the dominant method has been lethal injection.
The Next to Die tracked 15 states and the federal prisons. Texas far outpaced the others in sheer volume of executions.
  Since 1976 In

Past Executions
There were executions from 1976 through 2020. In early 2021, the federal government executed three people, whose stories are also included here. Read about the cases behind the names.
EXTENDED CASE INFORMATION
    Since 1976 ↓


Credits
The Next to Die uses data from the Death Penalty Information Center combined with reporting from The Marshall Project and our partners.
Additional research by Maya Bernstein
Additional development by Gabe Isman
Additional design by Elan Kiderman
This project created in conjunction with