Daniel Lewis Lee, who played a role in the 1996 murder of a family of three, was executed Tuesday morning in the first federal execution in 17 years after the Supreme Court issued an overnight ruling and dismissing anymore appeals from either prosecutors or family.
What We Know:
- The coroner pronounced Lee dead at 8:07 a.m. ET Tuesday in Terre Haute, Indiana. His reported last words were “I didn’t do it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but I’m not a murderer. You’re killing an innocent man.”
- After the Supreme Court upheld a lower court order temporarily blocking the execution of Lee, the court cleared the way for the death penalty to proceed unsigned order released after 2 a.m. ET Tuesday.
- Lee was originally scheduled to be executed Monday. Judge Tanya Chutkan blocked the planned execution of convicted killer Daniel Lewis Lee, among three others on Monday, due to new challenges over the federal government’s use of pentobarbital in the lethal injection.
- According to BBC, the execution of all four inmates was delayed due to the fact their lethal injections contained the drug pentobarbital. The main argument inmates have brought up, is that the particular drug used in the injections violates one of their eighth amendment rights, including “cruel and unusual punishments.” Previous research states it has caused medical issues in previous users.
- In the aftermath of Lee’s death, his attorney Ruth Friedman, said in a statement Tuesday, “It is shameful that the government saw fit to carry out this execution when counsel for Danny Lee could not be present with him, and when the judges in his case and even the family of his victims urged against it.”
- Previous appeals to delay the execution, such as the family of Lee’s victims concern of traveling to a federal prison during the pandemic were denied by a Supreme Court order Tuesday morning as well.
Of the three remaining inmates to face capital punishment soon, the Justice Department has gone ahead and scheduled two more executions this week of Wesley Ira Purkey on Wednesday and Dustin Honken on Friday. An appeals court has temporarily stayed Purkey’s execution with no indication that it will resume anytime soon.