A former white supremacist executed in a prison used his last words to protest his innocence after a court ruled to carry out the death penalty.
A former white supremacist executed in a prison used his last words to protest his innocence after a court ruled to carry out the death penalty.

White supremacist last words before he is executed

A white supremacist who killed a family of three in a twisted plot to establish a whites-only nation has been executed in a US prison, but his lawyer says his death is "shameful".

Daniel Lewis Lee, 47, was convicted of killing William Mueller in the town of Tilly, Arkansas, in 1996. He also killed Mr Mueller's wife, Nancy, and the couple's daughter, Sarah Powell, who was just 8 at the time of her death.

All three were incapacitated, suffocated and dumped in a swamp.

Lee had been recruited a year earlier by the Aryan Peoples' Republic and was sentenced to death in 1999. His co-accused received a life sentence.

Tuesday's execution was the first at a federal level in the US since the death penalty was restored in 1988. The last execution took place in 2003.

Daniel Lewis Lee was executed on Tuesday night.
Daniel Lewis Lee was executed on Tuesday night.

 

Before receiving lethal injection inside the chamber at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, Lee exercised his right to share some final words.

"I didn't do it," he said. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, but I'm not a murderer. You're killing an innocent man."

The former death row inmate's lawyer, Ruth Friedman, issued a statement on Tuesday after her client's execution.

"It is shameful that the government saw fit to carry out this execution during a pandemic," she said.

"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."

But Attorney-General William 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 offences," the Attorney-General said in a statement.

An eleventh-hour bid for a stay of execution failed by the smallest margin when the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 to have Lee's execution carried out.

Family members of the victims did not want the execution to go ahead. Earlene Peterson, whose daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were all killed, told CNN last year that she was against it.

Her lawyer said on Tuesday morning that the family of the victims was "heartbroken" because they were "prevented from being there".

The execution paves the way for others on death row to have their fate sealed, too. Death row inmates Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken and Keith Dwayne Nelson could be executed as early as next month.

Originally published as Inmate's last words at 'shameful' execution



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