There are 41 crimes punishable by death in US federal law codes. Federal death penalty crimes almost always involve murder committed in some kind of special circumstance, involving protected classes, multiple crimes, or children. There are 62 prisoners on federal death row, and their crimes range from multiple murders to terrorist bombings.
While many crimes punishable by death by the federal government are well-known, others on this capital offenses list are obscure, and have never actually resulted in anyone getting the death penalty. For example, while committing a murder during a hijacking or terrorist attack are capital crimes, so are killing someone on a merchant ship, oil platform, or in the process of wrecking a train. Many of these crimes that send you to death row have never actually been used in court, or resulted in the death penalty. Here are all 41 federal capital crimes in the United States - whether or not they have resulted in a criminal's death.
Murder Related to the Smuggling of Aliens
Destruction of Aircraft or Motor Vehicles Resulting in Death
Murder Committed During a Drug-Related Drive-by Shooting
Retaliatory Murder of a Family Member of Law Enforcement Officials
Civil Rights Offenses Resulting in Death
Murder of a Member of Congress, Executive Official, or Supreme Court Justice
Espionage Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are the only people ever executed in the US for espionage.
Murder with a Firearm During a Drug-Trafficking Offense Used to prosecute numerous high-level drug traffickers.
Murder Committed in a Federal Government Facility Gulf War veteran Louis Jones was executed for committing murder on an Army base on March 18, 2003.
First-Degree Murder Most federal death row inmates face the death penalty for first-degree murder.
Murder of a Federal Judge or Law Enforcement Official
Murder of a Foreign Official
Murder by a Federal Prisoner At least six men are currently on federal death row for this.
Murder of a US National in a Foreign Country
Murder by an Escaped Federal Prisoner Already Sentenced to Life in Prison Chadrick Fulks is the only prisoner currently on federal death row for this.
Murder of a Law Enforcement Official Aiding a Federal Investigation Used to hang Robert Suhay and Glenn Applegate in 1938.
Murder During a Kidnapping Victor Feguer, the last exection before the death penalty moratorium, was hanged for this in 1963.
Murder During a Hostage Taking
Murder of a Juror or Court Officer
Murder with the Intent of Preventing Testimony by a Witness So-called "Medicare Murderer" Ronald Mikos is on death row for this.
Retalitory Murder of a Witness, Victim, or Informant Former New Orleans police officer Len Davis is on death row for this.
Mailing of Injurious Material with Intent to Kill or Resulting in Death
Assassinating or Kidnapping the President or Vice President
Murder for Hire
Murder Involving a Racketeering Offense
Willful Wrecking of a Train Resulting in Death
Murder or Kidnapping Resulting in Death During a Bank Robbery Numerous prisoners are on death row for killing guards during robberies.
Murder Related to a Carjacking
Murder Related to Rape or Child Molestation Two inmates are on federal death row for rape-related murder.
Murder Related to the Sexual Exploitation of a Child
Murder Committed During an Offense Against Maritime Navigation David Joseph Watson is the only inmate to have been executed for this, in 1948.
Murder Committed During an Offense Against a Maritime Fixed Platform
Terrorist Murder of a US National in Another Country
Murder by the Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death under this statute.
Murder Involving Torture
Treason Several Japanese-Americans were executed for treason after World War 2.
Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer Related to a Continuing Criminal Enterprise Juan Raul Garza was executed for this on June 19, 2001.
Death Caused by Aircraft Hijacking