The execution could take place this Monday against Daniel Lewis Lee, 47
Washington.- A federal appeals court ruled Sunday that the first execution In almost two decades, the federal government can take place on Monday as planned.
The ruling of the Federal Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit annuls the order of a lower court that had put the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, of 47 years.
Lee, from Yukon, Oklahoma, was scheduled to die by lethal injection Monday in a federal prison in Indiana. He was convicted in Arkansas of the killings of gun dealer William Mueller, his wife Nancy and their 8-year-old daughter Sarah Powell in 1996.
District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled Friday on Indiana that execution It would be postponed because of the victim’s family’s concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused more than 135,000 deaths in the United States and is wreaking havoc on prisons nationwide.
The Justice Department alleged that the judge’s order misinterpreted the law and asked the appeals court to dismiss the ruling immediately.
The appeals court found that the victim’s family’s claim « lacks any defensible legal basis and is therefore frivolous. »
The Justice Department also alleged that while the Federal Prisons Agency has taken steps to accommodate the family and implemented additional safety protocols because of the pandemic, the family’s concerns « are not in the public interest to finally bring carry out the sentence legally imposed in this case. «
But in a document released to court Sunday, department officials said a staff member involved in preparing for the execution had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Justice Department said the event would not mean an additional delay in the government calendar because the worker had not been in the chamber of execution and had not come into contact with any member of the specialized team sent to prison to handle the execution.
Family members would travel thousands of kilometers and would be present in a small room where the recommended social distance to prevent the spread of the virus is practically impossible. There are currently four confirmed cases of coronavirus among inmates at Terre Haute Prison, according to federal statistics, and one inmate died there.
However, the family prefers that Lee not be executed. He has asked the Justice Department and President Donald Trump not to carry out the execution, and has long asked for a better sentence of life in prison.