LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Innocence Project released a statement saying that Ledell Lee has filed a civil rights lawsuit in a federal court seeking a stay on his execution that is scheduled for Thursday night.
The civil rights lawsuit is to allow more time for new DNA testing to be done in his case. Lee was convicted for the murder of Debra Reese in 1993.
Represented by the Innocence Project and the ACLU, Lee's attorney filed the lawsuit once the Arkansas Supreme Court denied an emergency stay motion.
"It is inappropriate for the state to rush to execute before a defendant's innocence claim can be properly examined," said Nina Morrison, a senior staff attorney with the Innocence Project. "All we are asking for is a hearing on Mr. Lee's claim that modern DNA testing can prove his innocence."
Lee has maintained his innocence in the murder of Reese. The Innocence Project said "numerous" unknown fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime and none were from Lee.
Lee's attorneys are looking to test a drop of blood on one of Lee's shoes and hair found at the crime scene. They also want to call into question the three eyewitnesses.
"The nation's 349 exonerations have proven that eyewitness identifications are unreliable," the Innocence Project said. "Eyewitness misidenitfication was a contributing factor in 71 percent of the 349 DNA exonerations, and 32 percent of the DNA exonerations involved multiple misidentifications."
Lee's execution is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Thursday night. We will keep you updated on the very latest in the scheduled executions.