Update: Lee's execution date has been scheduled for July 2020.
Attorney General William P. Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons to adopt a proposed Addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol—clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse, and bringing justice to victims of the most horrific crimes.
Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Hugh Hurwitz, scheduled executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society—children and the elderly.
One of those death row inmates is Daniel Lewis Lee, a member of a white supremacist group, murdered a Arkansas family of three, including an 8-year-old girl.
After robbing and shooting the victims with a stun gun, Lee covered their heads with plastic bags, sealed the bags with duct tape, weighed down each victim with rocks, and threw the family of three into the Illinois bayou.
Police later identified the victims as Bill and Nancy Mueller, and 8-year-old Sarah Powell of Pope County.
On May 4, 1999, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas found Lee guilty of numerous offenses, including three counts of murder in aid of racketeering, and he was sentenced to death. Lee’s execution is scheduled to occur on Dec. 9, 2019.
The Federal Execution Protocol Addendum, which closely mirrors protocols utilized by several states, including currently Georgia, Missouri, and Texas, replaces the three-drug procedure previously used in federal executions with a single drug—pentobarbital.
In a press release, U.S. Senator Tom Cotton said that "most american have always believed that the death penalty is a just response to the most heinous crimes."
"I commend the president and Attorney General Barr for reinstating the federal death penalty in order to carry out sentences imposed on five brutal murderers by juries of their peers," Cotton said.
Since 2010, 14 states have used pentobarbital in over 200 executions, and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have repeatedly upheld the use of pentobarbital in executions as consistent with the Eighth Amendment.