White nationalist and child murderer Daniel Lewis Lee was put to death Tuesday morning, following a late-night wave of legal disputes that has come to typify the push to restart the federal death penalty.
Lee was pronounced dead at 8:07 a.m. by Vigo county coroner Dr. Susan S. Amos in the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana, more than 16 hours after he was originally slated to be executed, and almost a day after a federal district judge stayed his execution in a move that death-penalty expert Kent Scheidegger characterized to the Washington Free Beacon as “deliberate stalling.” That stay was summarily overturned by the Supreme Court in a five to four decision around two in the morning. Another last-minute stay request was rejected by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, clearing the way for Lee’s execution.
Lee’s death makes him the first federal prisoner executed since 2003, when Louis Jones was put to death for the kidnap, rape and murder of fellow soldier Tracie MacBride. Two more convicted child murderers are slated to follow him over the course of the coming week, although at least one of those cases remains tied up in litigation.
The last-minute rulings by the Supreme Court, overturning yet another of an endless series of appeals, is typical of contemporary death penalty litigation. Lee’s death may add fuel to ongoing debates over criminal justice in the United States, pitting advocates of death penalty abolition—a minority position—against those who would see a triple-murderer and white supremacist as an obvious candidate for capital punishment. – READ MORE
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