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: 1084488

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1425562217
Lake705171220
Allen64347862
Hamilton49481481
St. Joseph48135639
Elkhart39011536
Vanderburgh33874494
Tippecanoe29863271
Johnson26876463
Hendricks25548379
Porter24683380
Madison20440444
Clark19785275
Vigo18609308
LaPorte16638260
Monroe16237217
Delaware16230286
Howard16181310
Kosciusko13763162
Hancock12644184
Bartholomew12544188
Warrick11889189
Wayne11794264
Floyd11792225
Grant11484233
Morgan10134188
Boone9576120
Noble8921121
Henry8917163
Marshall8792146
Dearborn875798
Dubois8673138
Shelby7958127
Cass7907126
Lawrence7861182
DeKalb7416106
Jackson738093
Huntington7280107
Gibson6922118
Montgomery6830122
Harrison680696
Knox6779113
Steuben641185
Miami6384106
Whitley631160
Putnam626582
Clinton614176
Wabash5958108
Jasper591991
Jefferson5617102
Ripley540892
Adams527881
Daviess4964116
Scott475978
Wells462998
White459967
Greene458399
Clay452162
Decatur4491109
Jennings434666
Fayette429094
LaGrange413890
Posey398344
Washington380654
Randolph3770107
Fountain364962
Spencer353446
Fulton352270
Starke343672
Sullivan342454
Owen341676
Orange320270
Jay315450
Rush293332
Carroll287037
Franklin283544
Perry281453
Vermillion277557
Parke244930
Tipton244664
Pike241744
Blackford213944
Pulaski203158
Newton176552
Brown169850
Crawford167129
Benton160517
Martin149219
Switzerland143712
Warren131416
Union115416
Ohio90513
Unassigned0581

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1673496

Reported Deaths: 26483
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1757641826
Cuyahoga1629012636
Hamilton1118741528
Montgomery791421387
Summit697231199
Lucas615331017
Butler55597803
Stark521611170
Lorain40661639
Warren35239412
Mahoning34821769
Lake31171493
Clermont30541362
Delaware26553182
Trumbull26366611
Licking26095335
Medina25072351
Fairfield24063287
Greene23957369
Clark21542387
Portage20538280
Richland20465336
Wood19524246
Allen18427320
Miami16950348
Columbiana16385331
Muskingum16346206
Wayne15351304
Tuscarawas14018357
Marion12978194
Erie12350198
Ashtabula12171225
Scioto12166182
Pickaway12009151
Ross11417223
Hancock11151173
Geauga10572174
Lawrence10433171
Belmont10200231
Huron9545155
Jefferson9425225
Union933375
Sandusky8981166
Seneca8639156
Knox8591169
Washington8578156
Athens825096
Darke8215179
Ashland7777147
Auglaize7695115
Shelby7302132
Defiance7174114
Brown7015115
Crawford7010150
Fulton6953111
Logan6818108
Mercer679397
Guernsey677983
Highland6591117
Madison639289
Clinton6361106
Williams623498
Preble6153139
Putnam6054120
Jackson569496
Champaign564786
Perry557179
Coshocton5525103
Ottawa549599
Morrow504464
Fayette481270
Hardin475399
Gallia460278
Pike457876
Van Wert451591
Adams4495109
Henry422776
Hocking398093
Holmes3917137
Wyandot366673
Carroll348978
Paulding317449
Meigs300957
Monroe230860
Noble216147
Morgan208938
Harrison204052
Vinton182037
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 25°
Angola
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 24°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 25°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 25°
Van Wert
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 23°
The chilly temperatures and clouds are sticking around Monday with a brief warm up midweek.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events