Things You need to know About Daniel Lewis Lee
5 Fast Facts: Daniel Lewis Lee
Daniel Lewis Lee was set to be put to death on July 13 for his role in the murders of three people in Arkansas including an 8-year-old girl in 1996. He was convicted and sentenced to death on May 14, 1999.
In much back and forth in the courts regarding the execution, a judge decided at the last hour to issue a preliminary injunction against the execution as they hear arguments from attorneys for four other men who were scheduled for execution at the same time as Lee. The judge ruled the “condemned inmates had not exhausted their challenges to the government’s execution protocols,” USA Today reported.
It’s only the fourth time a federal inmate was to be put to death since 1988, and Lee would the first person to be euthanized by the federal government in seventeen years, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Lee, who is now 47, was scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4pm at the Maximum security Terre Haute Federal Prison in Indiana.
Here is what you need to know:
1. Lee Was Involved With a White Supremacist Group When He Killed an Arkansas Family
Lee was only 23 when he and a man named Chevie Kehoe traveled from Washington to Arkansas with the intent to rob a gun dealer, William Mueller, who Kehoe and his father had robbed the year before, according to FindLaw.
In 1995 when Lee met the Kehoe family, they were part of a “supremacist organization known as the Aryan Peoples’ Republic or the Aryan Peoples’ Resistance (APR), Findlaw reported. “Kehoe formed the APR to establish an independent nation of white members of the Christian Identity faith in the Pacific Northwest. He patterned it after an anti-government, white supremacist organization called the Order.”
With efforts to grow their organization in mind, Kehoe and Lee dressed in “police raid clothing,” and traveled to Mueller’s home. When he wasn’t there, the men waited, and when Mueller, his wife, Nancy, and her 8-year-old daughter, Sarah Powell, returned home the men “overpowered and incapacitated” the Muellers, FindLaw reported.
They asked the little girl “where they could find cash, guns, and munitions. After finding $50,000 in cash, guns, and ammunition, they shot the three victims with a stun gun, placed plastic bags over their heads, and sealed the bags with duct tape. They took the victims in Kehoe’s vehicle to the Illinois bayou; there they taped rocks onto them and threw them into the bayou. The bodies were discovered in Lake Darnelle near Russellville, Arkansas in late June 1996,” according to FindLaw, which was six months after the killings.
Court documents say that Lee admitted his part in the murders to Chevie Kehoe’s mother, Gloria, saying that they “had put the family on a liquid diet,” referring to how he and Kehoe had tried to hide the bodies in the water.
The evidence against Lee and Kehoe was not identical, and the fact that the jury sentenced the two defendants differently supports that the jury was not simply motivated by racism to impose the death penalty. The jury accepted Kehoe’s mitigation case, believing that he had been indoctrinated from a young age and would not be a future danger. By contrast, the jury rejected Lee’s arguments for mitigation and instead found that he would be a future danger.
2. Lee Had Already Been Convicted for His Part in a Murder Before He Met the Kehoes
Lee was 17 when he got in a fight at a party with Joseph Wavra. According to court files, Lee beat Wavra up and with the help of someone named John Patton dragged Wavra to a sewer tunnel. Lee robbed Wavra and Patton suggested that they kill him, according to a witness. Lee went to get a knife from the house and Patton killed Wavra.
Lee plead guilty to robbery in the case and was sentenced to five years in prison, but the judge suspended the sentence.
In 1995 Lee was convicted of a misdemeanor for carrying a concealed weapon in Florida and was sentenced to six months probation. In 1996, just a month before the ambush on the Mueller’s court documents say that Lee put an improvised explosive device or IED at the Spokane City Hall building in Washington, which exploded, damaging the building.
Then, while Lee was in jail on Murder charges in 1998, court records say he tried to get another inmate to smuggle in a gun so Lee could use it to escape.
3. Attorney General William P. Barr Directed Federal Prisons to Resume Executions & Schedule the Deaths of 5 Men Convicted of Killing Children
Lee is not the only inmate whose death sentence is being upheld after decades. Attorney General Barr issued a directive to the Bureau of Prisons last August saying:
Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President. Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding. The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.
The other men sentenced to die soon are Lezmond Mitchell, Wesley Ira Purkey, Alfred Bourgeois, and Dustin Lee Honken.
Mitchell was convicted of killing and mutilating a 63-year-old woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter. Purkey raped, killed, and dismembered a 16-year-old and used a claw hammer to bludgeon to death an 80-year-old woman who had polio and walked with a cane, along with kidnapping a child which lead to the child’s death.
Bourgeois abused, tortured, and sexually molested his 2-year-old daughter before beating her to death, and Honken shot and killed five people who were to testify against him. Three of those people were a single mother and her 10 and 6-year-old daughters.
While the executions of all of these convicted murderers were scheduled for late 2019 and early 2020, temporary efforts to block the executions were filed in courts over laws involving state methods of execution, according to USA Today. Those blocks are now lifted.
4. Lee’s Victim’s Family Asked That They Do Not Execute Him
The mother of Nancy Mueller and grandmother of Sarah Powell, Earlene Peterson, along with her surviving daughter and granddaughter filed a petition with the court saying that due to the coronavirus travel it is not safe to travel to the execution, CBS reported. The family asked they stay the execution until it’s safe to travel but the courts rejected their plea.
Prior to that, Peterson was already asking for Lee’s death sentence to be vacated. In a statement published in the Arkansas Times, she asked President Trump directed to give him a life sentence instead.
As a supporter of President Trump, I pray that he will hear my message: the scheduled execution of Danny Lee for the murder of my daughter and granddaughter is not what I want and would bring my family more pain. We don’t want Danny Lee to be executed. We feel Mr. Lee’s execution would dishonor the memory of my daughter Nancy Ann and my granddaughter Sarah Elizabeth, who was killed when she was only eight years old. The man who actually killed my granddaughter – when Danny Lee refused to do so – has been sentenced to life, not death, and that’s what we think Mr. Lee deserves, too. The Attorney General has said the government owes it to the victims and their families to carry out federal executions like Mr. Lee’s. Please take our family’s feelings into consideration and grant clemency to Mr. Lee. Thank you and God Bless You.
5 Federal Inmates are to be Put to Death By An Injection of Phenobarbitol Sodium by Someone Who Has Participated in at Least 2 Execution Rehearsals
As per mandated by the Federal government, Phenolbarbitol Sodium is the drug that is to be used to end the lives of death row inmates.
The mandate was issued in July of last year, along with other protocols of how to perform executions and who can do it.
According to the mandate:
Qualified personnel includes currently licensed physicians, nurses, EMTs,
Paramedics, Phlebotomists, other medically trained personnel, including thosetrained in the United States Military having at least one year professional experience and other personnel with necessary training and experience in a specific execution-related function. Non-medically licensed or certified qualified personnel shall participate in a minimum of ten (10) execution rehearsals a year and shall have participated in at least two (2) execution rehearsals prior to participating in an actual execution.
Phenobarbitol is a nervous system depressant that is also known by the name Nembutal.