A convicted killer is scheduled to be executed early Friday in North Carolina, in what would be the 1,000th execution in the United States since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.
Barring a last-minute reprieve, Kenneth Boyd is to be put to death by lethal injection for murdering his estranged wife and her father.
In a related development, the California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to halt the scheduled execution on December 13 of the founder of the notorious Crips street gang.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could still intervene in the case of convicted killer Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who supporters say has reformed himself into an anti-gang activist while in prison.
Opinion polls consistently show a strong majority of Americans support the death penalty.
Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.