Federal Government Executes First Inmate in 17 Years After Supreme Court Gives Late-Night Green Light

Convicted killer Daniel Lewis Lee became the first person killed in a federal execution in nearly two decades on Tuesday after the Supreme Court signed off at 2 am, CNN reports.

The Supreme Court issued an unsigned order in the early hours of Tuesday, negating a lower court ruling blocking his execution.

Lee, a one-time white supremacist, was convicted of killing a family of three.

"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," Lee said in his last words.

Attorney decries ruling:

"It is shameful that the government saw fit to carry out this execution during a pandemic,” Lee’s attorney Ruth Friedman told reporters. "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. And it is beyond shameful that the government, in the end, carried out this execution in haste, in the middle of the night, while the country was sleeping. We hope that upon awakening, the country will be as outraged as we are."

Victims’ family opposed execution:

Earlene Peterson, whose daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law were killed by Lee, opposed the execution.

An attorney for Peterson’s family told CNN the family is "heartbroken" and said "the government prevented them from being there and family did everything they could to be there."

Attorney General Bill Barr said Lee  "finally faced the justice he deserved."

"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," he said.


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