Dwight Jeffrey Loving was a native of Rochester, New York, born c. 1968. He was an Army Private First Class stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. On the night of December 11, 1988, he committed two armed robberies of convenience stores, netting less than $100. He then decided to rob some cab drivers. On December 12, during the course of those robberies, Loving murdered two taxicab drivers and attempted to murder a third.
The court-martial evidence, which included Loving's undisputed videotaped confession, established that the first robbery and murder victim, Pvt. Christopher Fay, was an active duty soldier working for extra money as a cab driver; at approximately 8:00 p.m. on December 12, Fay drove Loving from Killeen, Texas, to a secluded area of Fort Hood, where Loving robbed him at gunpoint; after taking Fay's money, Loving shot Fay in the back of the head; while watching blood "gushing out" of Fay's head, Loving shot him in the back of the head a second time. Fay's dead body was discovered by another soldier at Fort Hood a short while later.
Loving, after fleeing to his Fort Hood barracks, called for a second cab at 8:15 that same evening. The second cab, driven by retired Army Sergeant Bobby Sharbino, drove Loving from Fort Hood to a secluded street in Killeen, Texas. Loving then robbed Sharbino at gunpoint, ordered him to lie down on the seat, and murdered him by shooting him in the head.
After the second murder, Loving socialized with his Italian girlfriend and others at local nightclubs. Later that evening, he robbed and attempted to murder a third cab driver, Howard Harrison, who successfully defended himself. Loving escaped on foot.
The next day, a Joint Task Force composed of FBI, Texas Rangers and the US Army Criminal Investigation Division (USACIDC) agents pursued Loving. Army Special Agents arrested him and videotaped his confession. He reviewed the tape and signed a transcript of his confession.
He was convicted at a court martial held at Ft. Hood in March 1989. He was found guilty on April 3, 1989. He made several attempts to have his sentence invalidated.
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of his death sentence on June 3, 1996, in a decision by Justice Kennedy. Loving's attorneys had contended that the doctrine of separation of powers allowed only Congress rather than the President to define the "aggravating factors" that weighed in his sentencing.
He lost his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2001. The lack of executions in the intervening decades is explained by that fact that a Supreme Court decision in 1969 had held that the military did not have jurisdiction over crimes committed off post by military personnel. The Supreme Court's reversal of that decision in 1987 made the possibility of military death sentences more likely.
As they had in 1996, attorneys from the Cornell University Law School's Death Penalty Project were seeking further Supreme Court review of his case in November 2009, following his failure to persuade the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces that he had lacked adequate representation during the sentencing phase of his trial.
Loving was not executed because neither President George W. Bush nor President Barack Obama authorized his execution. According to the New York Times, "Military executions require presidential approval".
On January 17, 2017, President Barack Obama commuted Loving's death sentence to life imprisonment without parole.