WASHINGTON: A former white supremacist convicted of murdering a family of three in 1996 was put to death by lethal injection on Tuesday in the first federal execution in the United States in 17 years.
Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, was pronounced dead at 8:07 am (1207 GMT) at Terre Haute prison in Indiana, the department said in a statement. Lee is the first of three federal inmates scheduled to be executed this week.
Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, and another man were convicted of murdering the Arkansas family during a robbery intended to help fund the founding of an “Aryan Peoples Republic.” Lee proclaimed his innocence in his final statement, according to a reporter from a local newspaper who witnessed the execution.
Lee’s execution had been scheduled for Monday but was temporarily halted by a judge who wanted to allow for legal challenges to the drug that was to be used to put the federal inmates to death. The Supreme Court lifted the order overnight and cleared the way for the executions.
His death marked the culmination of a three-year effort by President Donald Trump’s administration to resume capital punishment, ending a de facto moratorium by his predecessor, Barack Obama, amid legal challenges and difficulties obtaining lethal injection drugs.
“The American people have made the considered choice to permit capital punishment for the most egregious federal crimes, and justice was done today in implementing the sentence for Lee’s horrific offenses,” US Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
Lee’s lawyers complained that the government had acted in haste and that they received no notification of his rescheduled execution.