Judge blocks federal execution set to happen in Terre Haute, DOJ appealing to Supreme Court

A federal judge on Monday blocked the planned execution of convicted killer Daniel Lewis Lee, and three others, citing ongoing challenges to the federal government's lethal injection protocol.

Posted: Jul 13, 2020 5:24 PM
Updated: Jul 14, 2020 9:57 AM

(CNN) -- A federal judge on Monday blocked the planned execution of convicted killer Daniel Lewis Lee, and three others, citing ongoing challenges to the federal government's lethal injection protocol.

Lee is scheduled to be executed Monday, which would be the first federal execution in 17 years.

The injunction from Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, DC, applies to three other inmates on death row: Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken and Keith Dwayne Nelson.

The Justice Department has appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court.

Two other appeals seeking to delay the execution are also pending at the Supreme Court. One concerns the family of Lee's victims who are concerned about traveling and going to a federal prison during the coronavirus pandemic. The second regards evidence presented by prosecutors during his sentencing hearing.

Lee, a one-time white supremacist who killed a family of three, had originally been scheduled for execution in December, but his case was delayed after the courts blocked the death sentence from being carried out.

Earlene Peterson -- whose daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law were tortured, killed and dumped in a lake by Lee and an accomplice -- has opposed Lee's execution, telling CNN last year that she did not want it done in her name.

Lee's scheduled execution has long been anticipated to be the moment that the federal government once again began fulfilling the fate of inmates sentenced to die after a series of court decisions in the last several months.

In December, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court blocking the death sentence from being carried out last year. But an appeals court decided in April that the executions could move forward, and Attorney General William Barr set new dates for Lee and three other men in June. Since then, lawyers for the men have made several last-ditch efforts to delay the executions, including the lawsuit that was filed this week by the family of Lee's victims.

ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN 

On Friday evening, a federal judge granted an injunction. That was to halt the execution until COVID-19 became more contained.

The reason is the family of Lee's victims argues they have a right to be there for the execution, but they are worried attending puts them at risk.

On Saturday, things changed again. The Department of Justice filed an emergency motion, claiming the work to prepare for the execution has already been done...and can not be undone.

The DOJ won that appeal.

WHO IS DANIEL LEE?

In 1999 a jury found Daniel Lee guilty of killing a family of three in Arkansas.

They were a federal firearms licensee and his family. An eight-year-old girl was among the victims.

The Department of Justice says say Lee and another man robbed and shot them in 1996.

After that, they covered their heads with plastic bags, weighed them down with rocks, and threw them into a body of water.

The family of the victims, the prosecutor, and the judge who tried the case all say Lee should not be executed because the other man in the case received a life sentence, instead of the death sentence.

PROTESTS

News 10 has been following protests for the execution.

COVID-19 is a big concern to a lot of people when it comes to these executions. That was the reason for the first appeal.

Capital punishment is also a hot button topic nationwide.

That's why our crews were surprised that there were no protesters at the designated site either for...or against the executions.

Officers were on hand to process protesters, but nobody showed up.

On Monday morning, a group called 'Death Penalty Action' were there. The group is against the death penalty. Locally, that includes the 'Terre Haute Death Penalty Resistance.'

TIMELINE

COURT DOCUMENTS

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion846851338
Lake45676687
Allen32980552
Hamilton29649315
St. Joseph27531382
Elkhart24478345
Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
Porter14944169
Hendricks14485250
Madison11044222
Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
Monroe9458113
Delaware9170134
LaPorte9145164
Howard8292144
Kosciusko810183
Warrick680299
Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
Boone556468
Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
Shelby420781
Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
DeKalb349864
Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
Steuben315046
Whitley311126
Wabash305851
Adams302836
Ripley300546
Putnam298950
Huntington294860
Jasper291734
White275143
Daviess271774
Jefferson266238
Decatur249583
Fayette248648
Greene242262
Posey241028
Wells236951
LaGrange230062
Scott226839
Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
Blackford111822
Pulaski97837
Newton92021
Brown88335
Benton87110
Crawford8099
Martin74913
Warren6857
Switzerland6695
Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 868656

Reported Deaths: 10768
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin102154707
Cuyahoga865201153
Hamilton64744448
Montgomery43516419
Summit35250762
Lucas31663631
Butler31268232
Stark26096443
Warren19830142
Lorain19296229
Mahoning17471339
Lake16250154
Clermont16128112
Delaware1453680
Licking13326137
Fairfield1294981
Trumbull12920317
Greene12174141
Medina11732168
Clark11058265
Wood10457158
Allen9988127
Portage9454111
Miami924473
Richland9236118
Marion7486113
Tuscarawas7440183
Columbiana7409124
Pickaway732150
Wayne7111172
Muskingum710342
Erie6221130
Ross5558100
Hancock555292
Scioto542764
Geauga515955
Darke473492
Lawrence460658
Union456928
Ashtabula456473
Sandusky439562
Mercer435089
Seneca433866
Huron432841
Auglaize424164
Shelby422522
Jefferson422469
Belmont421145
Washington394240
Athens38389
Putnam378075
Madison358129
Knox356122
Ashland349038
Fulton340443
Defiance334486
Crawford325774
Preble322737
Brown315821
Logan312132
Ottawa296543
Clinton291543
Williams280367
Highland279018
Jackson265845
Guernsey257126
Champaign253428
Fayette239530
Morrow23464
Perry233718
Holmes226774
Henry221953
Hardin215533
Coshocton206922
Van Wert203445
Gallia199826
Wyandot196751
Pike178017
Adams177715
Hocking173224
Carroll157616
Paulding145321
Noble121040
Meigs109724
Monroe102232
Harrison89921
Morgan83931
Vinton71314
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 18°
Angola
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 24° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 21°
Huntington
Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 17°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 27° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 18°
Lima
Cloudy
26° wxIcon
Hi: 28° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 16°
More Clouds than Sun Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events