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
Murder Committed at an International Airport Suspected LAX shooter Paul Anthony Ciancia will face the death penalty on this charge at his upcoming trial.
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.
Death Resulting from Transportation of Explosives, Destruction of Government Property, or During Foreign Commerce One of the statutes used to execute Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.
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